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Irma Remnants Dominate NJ’s Forecast, But Don’t Expect Much Rain

The Garden State’s weather picture will become warmer and somewhat unsettled for the second half of the week, as the remnants of Irma come to visit.

(Map: College of DuPage Meteorology)
(Map: College of DuPage Meteorology)

I’m pleased to report that Irma is no longer a tropical system. The National Hurricane Center issued its last statement on the system at 5 a.m. Tuesday, suggesting maximum sustained winds have fallen to just 15 mph. Now deemed a “post-tropical cyclone,” the storm is really just a big continental rainstorm at this point. Eventually that storm will get caught up in the west-to-east jet stream and move our way. (More on that part of the forecast in a moment.)

3-day forecast track for Hurricane Irma, as of 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.  (NOAA / NHC)
3-day forecast track for Hurricane Irma, as of 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. (NOAA / NHC)

Meanwhile, just northeast of the Bahamas, Hurricane Jose has weakened to a minimal category one hurricane, with sustained winds of 75 mph. Jose is in the middle of a “loop de loop”. Until that nearly stagnant, circular motion completes late Thursday-early Friday, we don’t have a sense for where it goes next. Could it impact the U.S. East Coast? Sure — and there have been some overly dramatic long-range forecast model images that have shown that possibility for early next week. Tropical weather forecasting is very accurate, but only within the 3 to 5 day range. For now, ignore the hype, and just be patient for a few more days.

So for Tuesday, we find ourselves under the thumb of Irma, but that does mean much. We’ll see high clouds to start, with thicker mid clouds rolling through the sky too. The vast majority of the state should stay completely dry throughout Tuesday, although I wouldn’t rule out a sprinkle in South Jersey (from southern Ocean and Burlington counties, down to Cape May.) There is a dry slot just to our south — if that makes it to New Jersey, I wouldn’t surprised to see a period of sunshine Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday temperatures should climb to around 80 degrees, give or take. Again, a fairly pleasant day if you don’t mind passing clouds.

As the system-formerly-known-as-Irma loses its northwestward steam, it will get caught up in the west-to-east atmospheric river known as the jet stream. As that happens, we’ll have to increase shower chances, starting as early as late Tuesday night. Overnight low temperatures will be seasonable, mostly in the lower 60s.

NAM model rainfall forecast for Wednesday, showing minimal showers and a light thunderstorm over New Jersey.  (College of DuPage Meteorology)
NAM model rainfall forecast for Wednesday, showing minimal showers and a light thunderstorm over New Jersey. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

A shower or light thunderstorm will be possible at any time on Wednesday. But again, I have to stress how insignificant and unimpressive this week’s Irma-related rainfall will be. High temps on Wednesday will be in the upper 70s to around 80s.

Thursday will be the wettest day of the week, but that’s still not saying much with consensus rainfall forecasts less than a half-inch across the state. Widely scattered showers may arrive with a side order of thunder, along with partial sunshine throughout Thursday too. That will help temperatures warm into the lower 80s for most of the state.

I’m leaning toward a drier forecast for Friday and Saturday, with increasing sunshine to start the final weekend of Summer. I wouldn’t rule out a shower or thunderstorm as Irma’s remnants kick out to sea — but again, the models aren’t showing much (if any) rain for the Garden State here.

Hopefully temperatures stay on the warm side, in the lower to mid 80s for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I am a bit concerned that an on-shore flow (meaning winds from the southeast and east) would push temperatures lower, especially along the coast.

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