Here are your weather headlines for Friday, May 8, 2015...

Warm Temps, Poor Air Quality

For inland New Jersey, there’s nothing but warmth in your 5-Day Forecast. Of course, along the Jersey Shore, we're now into the time of year where "cooler along the coast" becomes a part of our regular on-air vocabulary! Highs on Friday and Saturday will mostly end up on either side of 80°; however, the breeze coming off the ocean (combined with this morning’s persistent patches of dense fog) will limit coastal communities to the 70s or even 60s all day.

Winds shift to the south-southwest for Sunday and Monday, which will help temperatures at the shore climb a little higher (into the 70s, at least). Sunday in particular is looking quite warm and humid, with the warmest spots rising into the mid 80s and dew points popping above 60°.

Poor Air Quality, in the Code Orange category, is expected Friday. (EPA)

Meanwhile, it may be a bit hard to breathe today. Not only will pollen levels stay in the "Very High" range, but today is an Air Quality Alert Day, as designated by the NJ Department of Environmental Prediction. Today’s Air Quality Index will rise into the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” (Code “Orange") category due to higher levels of ground-level ozone. While most of the general public is unlikely to be affected by the poor air quality, it may affect sensitive groups such as children, the elderly, and those who suffer from asthma, heart disease, or lung disease. If you below to any of these groups, you might consider reducing exposure to the poor air "by reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors”. Also on Ozone Action Days, such as today, you might think about utilizing alternative transportation to limit additional pollution and help mitigate the poor air quality caused by motor vehicles.

A Mostly Dry Weekend

Your Mother’s Day Weekend looks pretty good, pretty warm, and mostly dry. The GFS weather forecast model (the United States long-range model) shows only about 0.30" of rain over the next 10 days for New Jersey (at Newark Airport). That"s hardly anything. However, within that mostly dry period, we have to include a few isolated showers and storms in the forecast. There isn’t a defined lifting mechanism to spawn those storms this weekend, but instability and humidity will be fairly high so it won’t take much at all to pop up one or two strong storms.

By Monday late afternoon and evening, more scattered showers and thunderstorms should push through, in advance of a cold front that will move through the Garden State on Tuesday. Once again, our atmosphere will be pretty unstable (CAPE 1000, CIN -120, Lifted Index about -2), so we’ll be keeping an eye on the sky for a couple of strong to severe thunderstorms Monday into Tuesday.

Frankly, we really need a solid, drenching rain soon to ease both pollen and short-term drought concerns... While there’s a chance steady rain will come on Tuesday next week, it’s not looking likely...

Subtropical Storm Ana

Subtropical Storm Ana is nearly stationary off the South Carolina coast. (Satellite image from College of DuPage Meteorology)

The Atlantic hurricane season is starting early, as we now have our first named storm of the year. (The Atlantic hurricane season "officially" starts June 1.)

As of 5 a.m. Friday, Subtropical Storm Ana (pronounced "AH-na”) is sitting just off the South Carolina coast, packing 45 mph sustained winds. A "subtropical storm" is a hybrid storm of storms, with both tropical and non-tropical characteristics. It's not an incredibly strong storm, but the drenching rains and gusty winds will be problematic. Lacking any major steering effects from other weather systems, the storm is moving north-northwest at 1 mph. That’s right, a single mile an hour!

Current statistics and latest forecast for Subtropical Storm Ana. (NOAA / National Hurricane Center)

Ana is expected to remain almost stationary, sitting and spinning over the Carolinas, through early Monday morning. At that point, the storm will unhinge and slide up the Atlantic coast, pushing past the Jersey Shore on Tuesday morning. Usually tropical systems carry a ton of moisture, but our forecast is actually looking pretty dry on Tuesday. That is especially surprising given the combination of Ana remnants and a passing cold front. We’re still four days away from this Ana fly-by, but at this point it looks like her overall impacts on New Jersey will be minor at best:

  • Increased clouds, humidity, and temperatures as moist, warm tropical air accompanies the system as it slides up the East Coast.
  • Possibly increasing rain probabilities and intensities on Monday night into Tuesday, although the models are showing a fairly dry forecast at the moment.
  • No huge marine forecast impacts for us... Surf will increase to about 5 feet on Monday, with wind gusts to 20 knots - a noticeable change, but not even high enough for a Small Craft Advisory.

Worth watching? Yup. Big problem for New Jersey? Nope.

Have a great weekend!