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Baby, it’s Wet (and Windy) Outside: NJ’s Nasty Rain Storm is Here

As promised, it has been a very wet and windy start to this first day of Winter. (The Winter Solstice officially occurs at 5:23 p.m. EST, by the way.) And this nasty storm system is just getting started.

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A Flood Watch is in effect for all 21 counties of New Jersey until 1 a.m. Saturday morning. The latest guidance suggests rainfall totals between 2 and 4 inches, with locally higher amounts possible. Flooding along roads, river, streams, and creeks is likely.

Several Flood Warnings and Flood Advisories — too numerous and fluid to detail here — have been issued across New Jersey due to the moderate to heavy rainfall already causing ponding on roadways and noticeable river rises.

A Wind Advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. Friday (at least) for New Jersey’s coastal counties: Atlantic, southeastern Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Salem counties. Sustained southeasterly winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts 50 mph are expected. That’s enough to blow around Christmas decorations and garbage cans, bring down trees and power lines, and make driving difficult (especially for trucks, vans, etc.)

A Coastal Flood Warning is posted for Middlesex and Monmouth counties until 11 a.m.

A Coastal Flood Advisory has been issued for the rest of the coast:
–Until 10 a.m. for Atlantic, southeastern Burlington, Cape May, and Ocean counties.
–Until 11 a.m. for Salem county.
–Until 2 p.m. for northwestern Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Mercer counties.

1 to 2 feet of saltwater inundation will combine with 6 to 9 foot ocean waters and the heavy rain to cause minor to moderate flooding along tidal waterways. High tide along the oceanfront is around 6 a.m., with back bays and tributaries peaking up to several hours later. The Delaware River (from the Commodore Barry Bridge to Trenton) will crest around midday.

So from flooding to wind, there will be many things making travel a challenge on Friday. Best sure to pack your common sense and patience.

A very active radar as of 5:45 a.m. Friday, as bands of steady, heavy rain push through the Northeast U.S.  (AerisWeather)
A very active radar as of 5:45 a.m. Friday, as bands of steady, heavy rain push through the Northeast U.S. (AerisWeather)

Bands of driving rain are expected through the morning and early afternoon hours. Then after about 2 p.m., rainfall will become more scattered — more spread out, more hit-or-miss.

As of this writing (5:30 a.m.), the Atlantic City area is less than a half-inch away from breaking the record for annual precipitation. The current record belongs to 1948, when 65.80″ of rain fell at Atlantic City Naval Air Station in Egg Harbor Township.

The wind should also start to calm Friday afternoon. However, there is at least one model showing one more burst of intense 70 mph wind right along the coast around mid-afternoon — that possibility can’t be ruled out and should not be ignored.

Temperatures have already popped above 60 degrees, and that’s where thermometers will stay all day. As we’ve discussed all week, this system is wet not wintry.

I have to keep scattered rain showers in the forecast for Friday evening through the overnight too. While there could be an isolated downpour and breezy conditions, it will be dramatically calmer than the peak of the storm earlier in the day. Low temperatures should drop into the mid 40s or so.

Final raindrops are expected early Saturday morning (by 8 a.m. at the latest). There could be a quick burst of snowflakes in far northwestern New Jersey at the very tail-end. However, I still do not expect any accumulation or significant travel issues.

By Saturday late morning, skies will start to clear and a gusty wind will kick up to 35 mph. It’s important to note that this brisk wind will blow from the west, as opposed to the southeasterly winds during the storm.

Temperatures will fall on , from near 50 degrees in the morning to about the 40-degree mark by sunset. A freeze is possible Saturday night — however, the wind should have thoroughly dried out the ground so a flash freeze is not a huge concern.

Sunday will be a much calmer weather day across the Garden State. With partly sunny skies and high temps in the mid 40s, it should be fairly pleasant by late December standards. There is a slight chance for a shower Sunday night into early Monday morning.

Our weather will stay quiet for the entire Christmas holiday. Christmas Eve (Monday) will be mostly sunny and a bit breezy, thanks to a reinforcing shot of cool (not cold) air. Highs will remain at-or-above seasonal normals, between 40 and 45 degrees.

Christmas Day (Tuesday) looks just fine. Plenty of sunshine and high temperatures again 40 to 45. While our Christmas won’t be white this year, I hope it will still be merry, bright, holly and jolly.

The tranquil, pleasant weather will stretch into Boxing Day (Wednesday) too, with partly sunny skies and highs in the mid to upper 40s.

Our next storm system is showing up in the Thursday-Friday time frame. Yet again, it looks like a big warmup with accompany a period of steady rain. That storm will probably bring our final raindrops to close the record books on an incredibly wet year.

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