Great weekend weather for NJ, but what about Tropical Storm Jose?
While there could be a spot shower or storm, the final weekend of summer looks pleasant. Jose could pose problems for the Garden State early next week.
As I've been saying for over a week now: Anytime a storm system (like a hurricane) passes between the U.S. and Bermuda, it warrants a raised eyebrow. Now, as the forecast track for Tropical Storm Jose inches closer and closer to the U.S. East Coast, my other eyebrow has been raised.
(Keep reading for more about Jose...)
Mostly Pleasant Friday
The remnants of Irma? Completely tapped out. While we have a few widely scattered showers and thunderstorms pass through New Jersey on Thursday, there was just nothing left in the tank for this formerly historic hurricane.
Weather conditions will improve across New Jersey on Friday, as Irma's remnant low pushes out to sea. It's a pleasant morning, with just a touch of mugginess in the air and temperatures mostly in the 60s. Partly to mostly sunny skies will help thermometers into the lower to mid 80s.
Our only potential issue for Friday is the threat for spotty showers and thunderstorms to form during the afternoon and early evening hours. There will be plenty of warmth (energy) and humidity (moisture) to work with, so I'd call the overall threat of a storm somewhere in the state "likely," even though most New Jerseyans will not get wet.
The best chance for a storm will be found in northwestern NJ (forming off the topography) and near the Jersey Shore (popping off the sea breeze front).
Good Weekend Too
I like what I'm seeing for the weekend forecast, even as humidity remains relatively high. A hint of unsettled weather continues as well.
Saturday's sky looks mostly sunny, with nice warm temperatures in the lower to mid 80s. It will be cooler along the coast, as a light breeze blows off the ocean, probably in the mid to upper 70s. I just can't rule out an isolated shower popping up Saturday afternoon — along the same focal points as Friday's storms.
Sunday, meanwhile, now looks dry. There will be some extra clouds — let's call it partly sunny — and temperatures will be slightly cooler as a result. We'll close out the weekend with highs in the upper 70s to lower 80s.
Over the past several days, I have discussed Jose's unusual "loop de loop" maneuver — as the storm got stuck between areas of high pressure, it had nowhere to go but in a perfect loop. This move also served to weaken the storm, as it moved back over its own cold water wake. While Jose was once a category four hurricane with 155 mph sustained winds (on September 6), it is down to a tropical storm (as of Friday morning). Maximum sustained winds have decreased to 70 mph.
I also said we would have a better sense for Jose's track forecast after the loop, and this has also come true. Over the past few runs, tropical forecast models have inched Jose's future track closer and closer to the U.S. East Coast. It is also expected to strengthen back into a hurricane late Friday or early Saturday.
We now find the Jersey Shore within Jose's cone of uncertainty — the forecast confidence interval drawn by the National Hurricane Center, showing where the center of the storm may end up over time. Our risk of tropical storm force winds has increased to the 20 to 30 percent range.
Let me be crystal clear — there is no evidence that Jose is going to make a "direct" hit on New Jersey. It looks like it's going to be a very close call. Even if the center of Jose passes within 50, or 100, or 200 miles of New Jersey, we're going to feel it. Best sense of timing would be somewhere between late Monday night and Wednesday morning.
I want to get a few more model runs under my belt before we truly talk specifics. But I know you're curious and maybe even concerned, so let me put some numbers on best-case and worst-case scenarios as I see them now. These are listed in order of likelihood — i.e. rough surf is almost a guarantee, while tropical storm related rain is least likely on the list.
Best-case scenario... Big waves and dangerous rip currents are pretty much a guarantee, no matter where the storm goes. I'd estimate at least 6-foot breaking waves.
Worst-case scenario... Ocean models show 12-foot waves just off the Jersey Shore. If they hit the beach, we're going to see some significant erosion.
Best-case scenario... If the orientation and strength of Jose's are just right, we won't see any flooding of tidal waterways.
Worst-case scenario... Just like any tropical system or nor'easter that passes close to the coast, water inundation is a good possibility. We'll have more info on the potential magnitude of the surge on Saturday (about 3 days out).
Best-case scenario... Breezy, up to 20 mph.
Worst-case scenario... Gusty, up to 60+ mph. (Tropical storm force and potentially damaging. Estimated according to current models.)
Best-case scenario... Dry. Storm stays far enough away that rain bands miss New Jersey.
Worst-case scenario... Torrential rain. Widespread 3+ inches, with the highest totals falling along the coast.
Once again, no alarm bells are ringing yet. Bottom line for now: It's going to be very important to monitor Jose's forecast throughout the weekend. (I will publish a special weather blog update on Saturday morning, time to be determined.)
Tropical Depression 14 and More
Oh, by the way, Jose is not the only tropical system spinning in the Atlantic. Tropical Depression Fourteen has formed from a tropical wave that shoved off the western coast of Africa. It is far, far away and wouldn't be a threat to the United States for quite a while.
Another tropical wave ahead of 14 could become a tropical depression or tropical storm later Friday or this weekend.
The next name on this year's Atlantic hurricane list is Lee, followed by Maria.
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