Heat and Humidity Give Way to Stormy Weekend
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The weather continues to be very active around the Garden State. Central Jersey, the home of the Big Central is no exception. After a splendid three days of weather for Week 1 football action, conditions turned hot and humid for the finish to the Labor Day Weekend as predicted. The heat and humidity persisted through the entire first full week of September, and are now giving way to showers and storms this weekend.
Summer is trying to hang on. Despite the fact that the calendar has moved into September, and toward autumn, this week’s heatwave was a reminder that summer isn’t through yet. High temperatures at GWC in South Plainfield, NJ were at least 90 degrees each day during the work week. The peak of the heat wave was on Thursday afternoon when the mercury climbed to 94. The dew point topped out at 70 for a heat index of 104. Both the temp and heat index were highs for 2023.
Prior to this week’s onslaught of heat and humidity, there had only been 9 total days where the thermometer reached 90 or higher at GWC. The last time it had happened was on July 28th, or about 38 days ago. The first 90-degree day occurred back on April 14th. Meanwhile, there had not been much rain through the first week of September 2023. Prior to Friday afternoon, there was only 0.03 of an inch, which came on Labor Day.
A slow-moving cold front is trying to break through the heat. On Thursday, the collision of cooler and drier air attempting to move in and the warm, humid air already in place, occurred over much of Eastern Pennsylvania and Northwest New Jersey. Severe storms produced hail, strong winds, and even tornadoes from Reading, Pennsylvania to Wantage in Sussex County, New Jersey. Areas of Northeastern Pennsylvania are still without power as of right now.
The storms fired up further east on Friday afternoon. Hail and gusty winds were produced by thunderstorms from Bergen County all the way down to Monmouth County. Many of these thunderstorms are moving over the same spot, or training (like a freight train). South Plainfield has not really joined the action just yet. Only threatening skies presently cover the landscape at GWC. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect for 19 counties in New Jersey until 11:00 PM on Friday night.
According to the detailed discussion from the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, there is the potential for wind gusts up to 65 miles per hour and large hail of up to 1.5 inches in diameter, or about the size of a walnut or ping pong ball. The forecast is calling for a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms for the rest of Friday afternoon and evening. Temperatures will fall into the low 70s overnight.
On Saturday, the National Weather Service is calling for mostly cloudy skies with a 60 percent chance of rain. Many of the showers and storms are likely after 5:00 PM. Rainfall in any of these storms on Friday and Saturday could range between a tenth to a quarter of an inch. So, the Saturday afternoon games may be able to actually go without a hitch. Temperatures will be in the mid-80s.
Looking around at the tropics, we are approaching the statistical peak of the season, which is September 10th. Right on cue, there is plenty to talk about. A lot has been said on social media and regular media regarding Hurricane Lee. A mere tropical depression on Tuesday, Lee exploded into a Category Five Hurricane with 165 mile per hour winds by early Friday morning. The storm has weakened a little since then with winds decreasing to 150 miles per hour.
Lee is still a very dangerous storm, and residents along the East Coast including New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic need to monitor updates about it over the next few days. The storm’s effects will begin to impact the Mid-Atlantic on Sunday when large swells will produce another round of dangerous rip currents and rough surf. Over the Labor Day Holiday, there were several deaths and numerous rescues as a result of the rough surf at the Jersey Shore.
As of this morning, Lee was already producing 45 to 50-foot waves on average. Some of the waves were estimated to be as high as 80 to 90 feet. The NWS offices in both Mount Holly and New York City will likely start posting a high rip current risk along coastal areas throughout the Mid-Atlantic late this weekend. Check out this page from NOAA and the National Weather Service on How to Avoid Getting Caught in a Rip Current.