Tuesday NJ weather: Heat and humidity, then powerful thunderstorms
Good morning. Tuesday will be the grand finale of New Jersey's latest heat wave. And the ensuing cold front is expected to produce some downright dangerous weather later on. Here's a quick rundown of what to expect.
—Hot and Humid... High temperatures on Tuesday are expected to reach about 90 to 95 degrees, with the exception of NW NJ and the immediate coast. With dew points nearing 70, the heat index (or "feels like" or "apparent" temperature) will be between 95 and 100. Not quite dangerous heat, but certainly sultry and uncomfortable. Dress for the heat, stay hydrated, and take frequent breaks.
—Thunderstorm Timing... Our cold front will push from northwest to southeast, between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday. That is the most likely window for thunderstorms too.
—Biggest Threat #1... Wind. We've had so many severe wind events already in 2020, leading to downed trees and power outages and road closures galore. And here we go again, I'm afraid. Given the instability in the air, due to the hot weather, wind gusts of of 60-70+ mph are likely within and ahead of the strongest storm cells that form. While everyone in the state is under the gun for such severe weather, approximately the southern half to two-thirds of the state are modeled to see the strongest storms early Tuesday evening.
—Biggest Threat #2... Rain and flooding. Here is where the humidity comes into play, fueling pockets of torrential rain and subsequent flash flooding. I don't think we're looking at widespread deluges. But those spots that see over an inch of rain in a short period of time could experience ponding and flooding issues. Again, most likely (but not exclusive to) to the southern portion of NJ.
—Other Potential Issues... The Storm Prediction Center puts us under a 5% risk of severe hail — that's quarter-size or larger. The chance of a tornado is lower, but not zero. In addition, lightning is always a potential danger during any thunderstorm.
—What to Do... Stay weather aware. These storms will arrive quickly and fiercely. Again, I estimate they'll arrive in NW NJ around 3 p.m. and depart SE NJ around 9 p.m. Stay alert to changing weather conditions, and be ready to seek shelter if warnings are issued. When the skies darken up and thunder roars, it's time to head indoors.
—Watching Down the Road... Tropical Storm Laura is now expected to make landfall as a major hurricane (111+ mph sustained winds) along the Texas-Louisiana border early Thursday morning. As Laura charges inland and gets caught up in the west-to-east jet stream, it will make a turn toward the Northeast U.S. That would put the remnant storm system in New Jersey's neighborhood over the upcoming weekend, Saturday to early Sunday. The National Hurricane Center suggests it could be a tropical depression or subtropical storm at that time — that classification depends on structure, strength, and whether it's still "feeding" on tropical moisture. In any case, I'm seeing a period of rainy, windy weather for New Jersey, mainly on Saturday. Nothing to be too concerned about — but we never underestimate the potential of tropical moisture and energy.
Be smart and stay safe out there today. I am on leave for the remainder of this week, but the rest of our team will keep you updated before, during, and after the storms.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.