Flash flooding and strong t-storms big concerns for NJ Thursday evening
UPDATE as of 5:35 p.m. Thursday...
ORIGINAL POST from 3:52 p.m. Thursday...
Here we go. Our week of stormy, steamy weather is about to come to an end, with one last bang Thursday afternoon and evening.
A Flash Flood Watch continues until 1 a.m. Friday for the following 16 counties in New Jersey: Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren.
As of this writing, flash flood warnings and river flood warnings are also being posted for parts of the state too.
The ingredients are clearly present for some noisy thunderstorms. But honestly, it's not a "slam dunk" perfect setup. It's still a good idea to remain extra vigilant, especially given our recent history of really nasty storms. Strong storms are most likely through about sunset Thursday evening.
Let's review the biggest severe weather impacts, listed from most to least serious/likely:
1.) Heavy rain leading to flooding... Part of southwestern New Jersey has seen over 4 inches of rain in the past 24 hours. The ground is thoroughly soaked across the entire state and rivers are running high, given our extended stretch of soggy weather. It's not going to take much heavy rain for water levels to rise again, which could make for a big headache of an evening commute.
2.) Damaging winds... The heat, humidity, and breaks of sunshine have charged up the atmosphere such that any cellular or linear thunderstorm could push out some 60+ mph wind gusts. That's enough to break off shingles, blow around garbage cans and lawn furniture, make driving difficult, and bring down branches and trees.
3.) Hail... Only the strongest thunderstorms with the strongest updrafts are capable of producing hail (ice pellets). Small hail is possible Thursday afternoon and evening. We don't really worry about hail damage until it grows to quarter-size (1" diameter) or larger, which is unlikely.
4.) Tornado... The piece of the atmosphere most conducive to twisting storms will remain well south of New Jersey. But we've seen so many surprise spin-ups from thunderstorms in the past week and month, I just don't want to rule it out.
As I express every time potentially dangerous weather comes to visit, the best thing you can do is stay "weather aware" as thunderstorms form and pass through New Jersey. Stay alert to changing weather conditions and any warnings that are issued, and be prepared to take action and/or take shelter if needed. You may have to make some smart decisions regarding when you're hitting the road and whether outdoor activities are a good idea.
Of course, we'll be with you from first raindrops to last thunder clap, with your latest weather, traffic, and news updates. Be safe out there!