Tornado Watch Issued For Some South Jersey Counties As Heavy Rain, Flooding Returns To New Jersey
A tornado watch has been issued for parts of New Jersey as heavy rain made a return to New Jersey today bringing traffic on the Garden State Parkway nearly to a halt.
The National Weather Service issued the tornado watch for Atlantic; Burlington; Camden; Cape May; Cumberland; Gloucester and Salem counties until 10:00 p.m.
A watch means atmospheric conditions are right for a tornado to happen, but it does not mean a tornado is occurring.
The National Weather Service has extended a Flood Warning for parts of Monmouth & Ocean counties through late tonight as another round of heavy rain will likely cross New Jersey late Monday night. The Toms River will likely rise above flood stage between 9 p.m. and midnight Monday night while the Metedeconk in Lakewood and the Swimming River in Red Bank continued to steadily rise.
A band of downpours moved southwest to northeast across central New Jersey Monday morning with rain falling at the rate of 3 inches per hour in some areas. A second band crossed the state in the afternoon.
The rain caused some flash flooding in areas of Monmouth and Ocean counties. The Garden State Parkway closed temporarily northbound at exit 90 as crews work to clear blocked storm drains late on Monday morning.
Listeners describe front end loaders being used to clear the lanes. The Parkway through Brick has been stripped of vegetation that can no longer help absorb the excess rain.
Video footage from TheLakewoodScoop.com shows cars driving thorough flooding on 14th Street and Route 9.
River and stream levels remain high because of Friday's heavy rainfall and the ground saturated.
"Normally, this amount of rain wouldn't really be considered a flooding concern," said Mitchell Gaines with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly. "But because a lot of the streams, creeks and rivers are pretty close to bankfull already, this additional rainfall makes it much easier for those creeks and streams to come out of their banks and create flooding issues."
More bands are expected throughout the day prompting the National Weather Service to post a Flood Warning for Camden, Gloucester, Burlington, Mercer, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth & Ocean counties for some street flooding and small streams rising rapidly.
Gaines noted that minor, local flooding issues had already been reported by mid-morning.
Flooding has slowed traffic on a number of roads and reduced the speed limit on the New Jersey Turnpike between #4 (Route 73) and #7A (I-195) to 55 MPH. There's flooding reported on Route 206 in Southampton.
"If you see any areas of high water, the Weather Service motto - turn around and don't drown," Gaines added.
The heavy rain will cause delays at the area airports throughout the day. NJ Transit has suspended service on the River Line between the Walter Rand Trasnportation Center and the Entertainment Center due to flooding in Camden.
Humid air is pushing northward as a storm moves in from the west combining to create the heavy rain which should last through Tuesday but will be less frequent tomorrow.
Townsquare Media's Dino Flammia contributed to this report.