Steamy to stormy: Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued for western NJ
Our latest NJ heat wave rolls on - temperatures Wednesday were as hot as 94 degrees, with almost every corner of the state registering a heat index above 100. (The highest I saw was 113 - yuck!)
Now our attention now turns to the western sky. As of this writing (3:30 p.m.), spotty thunderstorms have blossomed across the eastern half of Pennsylvania. So this evening may turn pretty stormy for parts of New Jersey.
'Tis the season, right??
Unfortunately, if you do see a storm, it won't quash the humidity in the air. Just drop temperatures into the soupy 70s.
The National Weather Service and Storm Prediction Center have issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 9 p.m. Wednesday, that covers seven counties along the western edge of New Jersey: Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Salem, and Warren.
A "watch" is a formal heads-up that severe weather, including wind and hail, is possible. Although it does not cover the threat of heavy rain and flooding, that is also a significant concern given our juicy atmosphere. The risk of a tornado is very low, although not zero.
If a "warning" is issued for your area, that's the time to seek shelter in a sturdy building for the duration.
The geography of the watch reflects the fact that Wednesday evening's thunderstorms will be strongest as they crash across the Delaware River. Given the near-sunset timing, and the slightly more stable air near the Jersey Shore, those storms are expected to weaken significantly before reaching the eastern edge of the state.
Having said that, even if you're not under the official watch, you should stay alert to changing weather conditions. If necessary and appropriate, the Severe T-Storm Watch may be expanded farther east at some point.
Bottom line: Everyone in NJ should keep an eye on the sky, and be prepared for a possible thunderstorm or shower Wednesday evening.
The steamy, stormy weather continues for a few more days, before sweet relief arrives this weekend. For more details on the forecast, please check out my Wednesday morning weather blog entry.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.