Strong Storms Possible Today as Heat and Humidity Continue
The sweet spot for thunderstorms today will be north and west of the New Jersey Turnpike, as temperatures once again soar well into the 80s.
Here are your weather headlines for Wednesday, May 27, 2015...
New Jersey dodged the storms by just a couple of miles yesterday, which is unfortunate as northwestern New Jersey especially needs a good soaking given the drought conditions I discussed in yesterday’s blog post. There are still scattered rain chances over the next few days, although the overall probability and intensity of precipitation has decreased since yesterday’s forecast. Today looks to bring the great potential for stormy weather through the rest of the week, giving good reason to “keep an eye on the sky” this afternoon.
The heat and humidity will lead to an unstable air mass over New Jersey today, making our weather feel much more like July than May. I’m a bit concerned that any showers or thunderstorms that get started this afternoon could become strong or severe. The biggest threats will be localized heavy downpours and gusty winds, and the western edge of New Jersey will be most prone to see these strong storms today. I’m characterizing and expressing that area as “north and west of the NJ Turnpike” which lines up well with the Storm Prediction Center’s “slight risk” outlook issued this morning. But don’t let your guard down - an isolated shower or storm could still very well pop up south and east of the Turnpike today. And a few lingering showers could extend into the evening and overnight hours statewide before fizzling out completely.
The bottom line... Not everyone will see rain today, but part of New Jersey will likely see a storm today, with the potential for heavy downpours and gusty winds.
Staying Warm, Humid, and Unsettled
Yesterday, I discussed the difficulty in this week’s forecast, surrounding a front expected to push into New Jersey on Thursday. That front is still going to be there, but the current thinking is that it will be weak and will “wash out” or dissipate before it can bring rain and/or cooler, less humid air to New Jersey. Therefore, the summer-like heat and humidity will continue beyond today.
Thursday’s high temperatures will likely end up at or slightly above Wednesday’s highs... 10 to 15 degrees warmer than normal for late May. The washed out front may (or may not) spawn a few showers or thunderstorms on Thursday. This morning’s models put the “sweet spot” of greatest instability and moisture along New Jersey’s southern coast... whether storms form there (or at all in NJ) is a big question mark.
Friday’s forecast has dried out significantly, so for now we’re going to optimistically predict a rain-free, mostly sunny day. The model statistics do show a slight decline in high temperatures, likely a minor effect of that washed-out front, so we’ll follow suit and put highs in the upper 70s to lower 80s. I’m honestly not 100% confident comfortable with this overall no-precipitation, cooler forecast on Friday. But it seems to be the best solution given the current model data. We’ll see how the forecast evolves over the next 48 hours.
The Weekend Ahead
Wednesday is an important day of the week here in the weather center, as the weekend forecast starts to come into view! The early look at the upcoming last weekend of May unfortunately doesn’t look as gorgeous as our Memorial Day Weekend weather. But hope is not lost for a few periods of pleasant weather next weekend.
Saturday will start off pretty nice, with mild morning temperatures in the 60s and partly sunny skies. Highs on Saturday should reach the lower 80s across most of the state, except in the higher elevations of North Jersey and along the Jersey Shore. By late afternoon, an approaching cold front will increase rain chances, and our weather could get pretty wet for a time Saturday night through Sunday morning. (Yes, we really need the rain.) By Sunday afternoon, skies are expected to start clearing rapidly. The air mass behind the front will be much less humid and therefore more comfortable. That air will also be cooler - high temperatures on both Sunday and Monday will struggle to make it to even 70°. That will be a big change from this week’s 90° heat and humidity.