Wednesday NJ weather: The remnants of Fred will spark some wet, stormy weather
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The Bottom Line
The remnants of Fred will pass mere miles northwest of New Jersey Wednesday night. That's the inland side, not the ocean side, so there are no coastal concerns from this storm. However, we could still see some pockets of heavy rain. And possibly some severe weather.
Beyond Fred, our weather will stay pretty unsettled through the upcoming weekend. While I have to talk about significant cloud cover and daily rain chances, I'll try to pluck out the pockets of decent weather along the way.
First of all, this is the first time in a long time that I've seen the UV Index forecast come in as "Low". That's an indication of how much cloud covers we'll see overhead today. And what a poor "beach day" it will be, unfortunately.
Baseline, it will be mostly cloudy to overcast, warm, and very humid Wednesday. High temperatures will end up in the lower to mid 80s Wednesday afternoon.
Of course, our most prominent weather feature for Wednesday will be the flyby of the low pressure system formerly known as Tropical Storm Fred. The remnants of Fred is centered over West Virginia as of this writing (5:30 a.m.) It is no longer a tropical storm or depression - the storm system is no longer "feeding" on warm ocean weather. And NJ will only end up on the edge of the storm. Still, it's important to never underestimate the rainfall potential of tropical rainfall.
I think we face three potential rounds of rain:
1.) Wednesday morning... A wave of showers rising through New Jersey from south to north, associated with a weak warm front.
2.) Wednesday afternoon... Popup thunderstorms are possible, depending on how unstable our atmosphere becomes. Very much hit-or-miss.
3.) Wednesday night (6 p.m. to 4 a.m.)... The biggest push of Fred related rainfall. Localized downpours may lead to flooding issues, especially to the northwest. Severe weather is possible too - specifically, gusty winds and even an isolated tornado.
It is very clear, given the track of Fred's remnants, that the heaviest rain will stay away from New Jersey. (Central Pennsylvania could see 4+ inches.) Total rainfall in southern and coastal New Jersey will probably stay below a quarter-inch. To the north and west, however, a more substantial inch or more may fall.
Fred will be done by daybreak, racing away to the northwest. And Thursday should turn into a mainly pleasant, very warm, and humid summer day.
While the day should start mostly cloudy, we should get substantial breaks of blue by the afternoon. I can't rule out an isolated shower or thunderstorm in the late afternoon hours - the air is still going to be humid, after all. High temperatures will reach the upper 80s for most of the state. We could even see a few 90s in urban areas and SW NJ.
Dew points should slide back slightly, into the 60s, so the air will feel less soupy and "tropical". However, our weather will stay rather unsettled through the upcoming weekend.
For Friday, I'm seeing a mix of clouds and sun. (That order is important - it may be more "grey" than "bright".) And there's a chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms Friday afternoon. That's not a guarantee - some models do paint another dry day.
High temperatures will settle in the seasonable, summery mid 80s.
The Weekend & Beyond
I will say that the weekend outlook is looking better. So don't go canceling your outdoor plans just yet. However, we probably will see some raindrops in New Jersey. And there are additional concerns for the coastal too.
When there are numerous "minor" weather features around, it's difficult to pinpoint the exact geography and timing of rain. I'm thinking the best chance for scattered showers this weekend will be during the day on Saturday. Once again, not a guarantee, and not a total washout.
At the very least, skies will be mostly cloudy to overcast throughout the weekend. That will keep high temperatures in the lower 80s - warm, but not quite 'mid-August warm".
One additional issue for the weekend is the close pass of Tropical Storm Henri, as it swirls around in the Atlantic. A direct hit from Henri is highly unlikely. But we could see some indirect impacts. Maybe some enhanced shower activity through the weekend. And more prominently, increased swell and surf. I suspect we'll have several consecutive days of moderate to high rip current risk.
The long-range forecast, looking at next week, shows brighter, drier, and hotter weather on the way. 90s may return for inland New Jersey on Monday and Tuesday. Hopefully a strong cold front at the end of next week will knock down the heat. And humidity levels too.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.