Adios, Jose: Weather Improves, But Big Waves Continue for NJ
The ocean will remain angry as the Garden State gets a taste of warmer temperatures through the upcoming first weekend of Autumn.
After a day of occasional rain, marginal wind gusts, mean surf, and coastal flooding, I'm pleased to report our sky and surf conditions have already begun to improve. According to the NJ Weather Network, New Jersey's top wind gust on Tuesday was 42 mph at Harvey Cedars on Long Beach Island, Ocean County. Top rainfall total was 0.62" recorded at Bivalve, Cumberland County.
Downgraded to a tropical storm late Tuesday night, Jose is now steadily moving away from the Jersey Shore.
We're not out of the woods yet, though. Surf will remain rough for the foreseeable future, and we continue a chance for coastal flooding through the next one or two high tide cycles. Furthermore, Jose's forecast track gets incredibly complicated as it lingers off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Could Jose meander back toward the Jersey Shore? Maybe. And what about Hurricane Maria? Read on.
Wednesday: More Surf, Swell, and Surge
Jose will still have a big influence on the Jersey Shore Wednesday, pushing more and more ocean water toward the coast. 1 to 2 feet of surge will be possible.
A Coastal Flood Warning continues for the south coast (Atlantic, Cape May, and Cumberland counties) due to the threat of moderate flooding of tidal waterways during Wednesday morning's high tide cycle.
A Coastal Flood Advisory is in effect for Monmouth and Ocean counties during Wednesday morning's high tide, given the chance of minor flooding of tidal waterways.
A High Risk of rough surf and rip currents has been posted for the entire Jersey Shore all day Wednesday. Red flags will be flying as 8 to 11 foot waves continue bashing the beaches.
High tide along the oceanfront will start in the 8 a.m. hour, with back bays rising through the rest of the morning.
Remember to never attempt to drive, swim, or walk through flooded areas. Not only is running water incredibly dangerous, floodwaters are also generally quite disgusting.
Wednesday: Improving Weather
Winds have already calmed considerably, although Wednesday will remain breezy across New Jersey (especially along the coast). Sustained northerly winds will range from 10 to 20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph (at least for Wednesday morning).
Clouds will still win the sky Wednesday, thanks to Jose. In addition, I can't rule out a shower or sprinkle to encroach Jersey's borders at some point. I do think you'll see a few breaks of sun by the afternoon hours, especially the further west you are.
High temperatures should improve to the lower 80s away from the oceanfront.
Thursday: Warm and Humid
The final day of summer will feel quite summery, with high temperatures climbing into the lower to mid 80s. It might feel a little sticky during the heat of the day, with dew points still well into the 60s. Skies will be partly to mostly sunny, our weather looks dry, and we'll have a delightful breeze stirring around the warm air. A nice day all around.
Friday: The Return of Jose?
Friday marks the official start of Fall, as the autumnal equinox occurs at 4:02 p.m. EDT. Models suggest we'll enjoy a break in the humidity, as drier, more comfortable arrives. Very nice!
However, it also appears that Jose will "unstuck" itself from just off of Cape Cod, and drift back to the west — yes, back toward the Jersey Shore. Jose will almost certainly be an extratropical storm by that point, and significantly weaker as a result. I also highly doubt the storm's center will make it all the way to New Jersey.
So, this wiggle is really no big deal. I've added extra clouds to the forecast, and a chance for showers. High temperatures should still make it to the 80 degree mark.
The Weekend: Warm, Warm, Warm
Our warming trend will resume for Saturday and Sunday, as partly to mostly sunny skies pushes thermometers even higher. I'm seeing lower to mid 80s on Saturday, with upper 80s to around 90 degrees on Sunday. Yes, near 90! Record high temps might be in jeopardy.
I suspect the Jersey Shore beaches will be very popular during this wave of warm weather. The concerns me, as the rough ocean and dangerous rip currents continues through the weekend. Most of those beaches are now unguarded, as the off-season has arrived.
Seriously, please don't be stupid and don't become a statistic. Staying out of the ocean would be incredibly smart.
The other weather item to watch is Major Hurricane Maria, barreling through the Caribbean Sea and making landfall upon Puerto Rico some time Wednesday.
As of Wednesday morning, Maria is an incredibly powerful category 4 hurricane. With a pressure reading of 909 mb (26.84 inches), Maria was previously deemed the tenth strongest Atlantic hurricane on record. Yet another devastating hurricane in a very active Atlantic hurricane season.
Where does Maria go next? That is an incredibly complicated question. There are several factors that will directly influence Maria's track in the coming days:
--Maria's interaction with the islands of Puerto Rico, Hispanola, and the Bahamas
--Maria's interaction with Jose
--Location and strength of larger-scale atmospheric features (specifically, a ridge building over the eastern United States)
Could Maria impact the U.S. East Coast? While a general northward trend seems a good bet, there is very low confidence in Maria's forecast beyond 4 to 5 days. Just like Jose, even if Maria passes just off the Jersey Shore, we could see giant waves, coastal flooding issues, and some wind.
When will we know? I want to see what forecast models look like after the center of Maria begins to clear the Bahamas. That will be Friday, at the soonest. Possibly more like Saturday until we have real clarity. Until then, I am not interested in communicating back-and-forth, flip-flopping, play-by-play forecast model changes. For now, I will only say Maria and its forecast are "worth watching". Period.
When would Maria arrive? Models suggest the storm would not be in our neighborhood until next Tuesday or Wednesday, at the earliest.