Dear New Jersey,

Here we go again. As the calendar page turns from May to June, we look forward to the end of the school year and the impending arrival of summer. Of course, this time of year, it is also time to start looking toward the warming Atlantic for visitors from the tropics. Hurricane season officially runs June 1 through November 30.

As New Jersey well knows from recent years, hurricanes, tropical storms, tropical depressions, post-tropical cyclones, and remnant tropical rainstorms pose a tremendous risk to life and property. Names such as Ida, Sandy, Irene, and Floyd are forever ingrained in our minds.

Despite our history of destructive tropical storms affecting the Garden State, many residents can be apathetic and dismissive of the potential for such dangerous and life-changing weather. As we dive into the 2024 hurricane season, I wanted to share a few important notes.

1.) New Jersey IS a hurricane-prone state. Usually when you think of "tropical weather" states, Florida and the rest of the Gulf Coast come to mind. And rightfully so, given the number of direct landfalls in those warm-weather states. However, New Jersey is a coastal state and, by definition, is exposed to big, bad coastal storms too. Also do not ignore the potential for indirect storm impacts like enhanced rainfall and rough surf, which happen practically every summer.

2.) It's not just a Jersey Shore thing. Remember Tropical Storm Isaias, which tracked past New Jersey in early August 2020? What a nasty weather day, with up to 7 inches of rain, a 75 mph wind gust, and 2 tornadoes in New Jersey. A whopping 1.3 million New Jerseyans lost power during the storm. A wide range of serious impacts, for both coastal and inland NJ. While Sandy (2012) brought historic storm surge and tidal flooding, Irene (2011) and Floyd (1999) were primarily characterized by inland, freshwater flooding.

3.) Three big hurricane concerns: Water, wind, waves. The holy trinity of tropical impacts. Although they are all potentially hazardous, I often put extra emphasis on the "water" effects of these super-soaker storms. Of course, each storm has its own "personality" based on its track, size, strength, and organization. When piecing together an ever-evolving tropical storm forecast, we absolutely have to keep all three hazards in mind. (And we try to rank which will be the most precarious and impactful, so you can prepare accordingly.)

4.) Never underestimate the power of tropical moisture. Ida was an incredible storm. On the evening of September 1, 2021, upwards of 9+ inches of rain deluged central and northern New Jersey. But Ida was not even a "tropical" system at that point, having made landfall as a hurricane three full days earlier in Louisiana. Almost 72 hours over land, and the storm still had that much moisture locked up in its circulation. The flooding, property damage, and loss of life here in New Jersey was truly catastrophic. In a sense, terms like remnants and post-tropical storm and extra-tropical storm are dangerous, as they downplay the potential for significant rainfall. Just because it's not technically a "hurricane" doesn't mean a storm can't be historic.

5.) Simple planning now will make a big difference later. I don't want to get too preachy about hurricane safety and preparedness. But it astounds me how every single time a big storm is imminent, people make a crazed run on the stores for basic supplies. Batteries, flashlights, bottled water, bread and milk. Take a few minutes now to make sure those items are well-stocked and easy-to-find in your home. Those who live in coastal flood zones should also think about an evacuation plan, in case a worst-case scenario storm plays out.

Finally, you should know that I take our coverage of any impending tropical storms very, very seriously. Our top priority throughout the Townsquare New Jersey Info & Weather Network is to provide timely, accurate, and (most importantly) honest forecast information. Both on-air and online. As Chief Meteorologist and steward of that weather brand, I have zero tolerance or patience for any storm hype or disinformation. Period, full stop.

Thanks as always for following along. Here's hoping for a nice quiet hurricane season.

Sincerely,
Dan Zarrow
Certified Broadcast Meteorologist

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