Chances for Rain and Storms Through Friday Night
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ—High School Football is a sport played in various kinds of weather. Whether it is sun, rain, wind, cold, or snow, games are always played on the gridiron, especially fields that have turf. However, over the past several weeks, there have been several instances of severe weather that have impacted the schedule in a variety of ways.
Since August 22nd, there has been a total of 12.43 inches at Greg’s Weather Center here in South Plainfield, NJ. On Monday night, the latest storm dumped 1.08 inches of rain in the area while also bringing hail, frequent lightning, and tremendous winds. It was perhaps the most potent non-tropical storm to pass through South Plainfield since the Labor Day Storm of 1998.
The winds were relentless throughout. Both sustained winds and gusts were over gale force, and perhaps in some cases near hurricane force. Rain appeared as if it was literally being thrown to the ground by the wind. The maximum rainfall rate at GWC was 23.04 inches per hour, a record for the weather station, which was installed in June 2011. The max rainfall rate in Monday night’s storm exceeded that from Hurricane Ida’s remnants (6.40 inches per hour) on September 1st by nearly four times.
Speaking of Ida’s remnants, those rains brought 7.38 inches to GWC in South Plainfield, and produced the worst flooding to the area in 50 years. Worse than Irene and worse than Floyd. The rainfall amount from Ida’s remnants exceeded that of Irene by 2.05 inches, and in a shorter amount of time. The deluge produced devastating flash floods throughout Central Jersey. Roads in places like North Plainfield and Plainfield became raging rivers. Route 22 in Green Brook became roaring rapids. Manville experienced flooding considered worse than even that from Floyd in 1999.
As a result, games were cancelled or postponed. Some teams like Phillipsburg scheduled new opponents on short notice. Manville was one of the schools that postponed. The Mustangs opening night game with Big Central Division 1B rival, Belvidere was scrapped, and the team was not able to practice until the following week. Nevertheless, the team came together not only to win its first game against Dunellen (48-6) at Columbia Park last week, but also to assist those in their community impacted by the flooding.
On Wednesday afternoon and evening, severe weather threatened again as a frontal system slowly pushed in from the west. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma had placed much of Central Jersey under a marginal risk for severe weather on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Northwest Jersey was put under a slight risk, and had a Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued until 10:00 PM.
The front will drag across the Garden State over the next 24 to 48 hours, and as a result, there is a chance for showers and storms from now all the way through Friday night. According to the National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly, New Jersey, the chances for inclement weather over the next two days range anywhere from 20% to 60%. Up to another three quarters of an inch is possible with locally higher amounts.
Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that we are in the middle of peak hurricane season in the Atlantic. The statistical peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, September 10th, just passed, but things will likely remain active into early October. Since last season, there have been 19 tropical storms or hurricanes that have made landfall along the coast of the United States from Texas to Maine. Almost half of these storms have impacted Texas and Louisiana, but five (Fay, Isaias, Fred, Henri, and Ida) have also affected the Garden State.
There are currently several areas being watched right now. First, is Nicholas, which weakened to a Tropical Depression on Wednesday morning. The storm strengthened into the season’s 6th hurricane prior to making landfall in the Matagorda Bay region of Texas on Tuesday. The storm has dumped torrential rains on areas in Louisiana that have already been hard hit by tropical storms and hurricanes over the past two seasons including Lake Charles, which is still trying to recover from Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta during last season.
Then, there are two other disturbances being monitored in the Atlantic. One is in the Western Atlantic, and has a slight chance of impacting New England over the next week. While another is in the Central Atlantic, and projected to go north of the islands over the next 5 days. Although September is the driest month of the year climatologically speaking in New Jersey, the state lies along the East Coast of the United States, and is somewhat vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes.
For Thursday night’s Big Central Conference Division 1B game between Highland Park and Dunellen at Columbia Park, there is a 30 percent chance of showers by game time and during the course of the game. Friday night’s non-conference game between Monroe and Hamilton will play under a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. For Saturday afternoon’s BCC Division 5D contest between Edison and St. Joseph’s, the forecast calls for partly sunny skies with a slight chance for thunderstorms.
So, for all those who will be attending these games and others around the BCC this weekend, should be prepared for at least some wet weather, keep an eye to the sky, follow mobile alerts from their weather app, and dress appropriately.