Flood Watch: NJ gets soaked by heavy rain Thursday and Friday
For the next 36 hours, New Jersey will be stuck under a stalled frontal boundary. That front will serve as a highway in the sky for several areas of low pressure (storm systems) moving from southwest to northeast. That will result in 36 hours of almost-continuous soggy weather for New Jersey.
We're still looking at 1 to 2+ inches of rain from now until things finally dry out Friday afternoon.
Allow me to address the inevitable question now: What if this were snow instead of rain? It's a difficult question to answer, because there are convective processes in play here that would not happen in a "cold cloud" kind of storm. Having said that, on average, 10 inches of snow contains 1 inch of water equivalent. So multiply 2+ inches by a factor of 10 and you get 20+ inches of snow. #InYourDreams
On this Thursday morning, we've actually caught a bit of a lull in the rainfall. It's certainly damp from overnight rain. And as of this writing (5:30 a.m.) there is a batch of scattered light rain pushing across the NJ Turnpike corridor. Radar will fill back in with steady-isn rain around 10 or 11 a.m. That rain will be heavy at times, and you might even hear a rumble of thunder later on. Once it picks up again, the rain really won't let up much through the rest of Thursday.
A Flood Watch goes into effect at 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon for 14 counties in New Jersey: Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem, and Somerset. Heavy rainfall may cause ponding or flooding along roadways and low-lying areas. This is a particular concern for Thursday evening's commute.
We had been watching for some icy mix in northwestern New Jersey. And there have been some hints of sleet and freezing rain out there, with surface temperatures right around or just below the freezing mark. However, we landed far from the worst-case scenario (thankfully) — just watch for slippery spots early Thursday. Our Winter Weather Advisory was shaved away, now covering only Morris, western Passaic, Sussex, and Warren counties until 10 a.m. As temperatures warm past sunrise, the threat for icing will become lower and lower.
So the wet weather continues Thursday night. More rain is expected Friday morning, although the latest model forecasts suggest the rainfall will become lighter and more scattered after sunrise as our finally atmospheric impulse comes through.
When will we finally dry out? Sometime Friday afternoon. By sunset at the latest.
Of course, as rain comes to an end, a gusty wind will kick up, blowing out of the west (sustained 15 to 25 mph, gusts over 40 mph). That wind will carry in colder air, so temperatures tumble throughout Friday. While we'll start the day in the 50s, thermometers will fall into the 40s by sunset.
Saturday will be a much calmer weather day, but it is going to be much colder too. Temperatures in the 20s Saturday morning, with any little breeze pushing the wind chill ("feels like" or "apparent" temperature) into the Teens. And highs will only reach the upper 30s or so, notably below normal for early February. We'll see plenty of sunshine, with some flurries possible.
Temperatures will only climb a degree or two for Sunday, with a mix of sun and clouds overhead. A weak disturbance looks to produce some snow or rain showers over New Jersey. Some models have sporadically suggested upwards of an inch of snow accumulation here. I suppose it's still possible, if it's cold enough. But this one generally looks inconsequential.
And then next week, the active weather returns. Another slow-moving front will affect New Jersey in the Monday-Tuesday time frame. And once again, with temperatures in the 40s or 50s, we're looking at another extended period of mainly rain. (For now, at least.)
Another batch of unsettled weather arrives Wednesday night into Thursday. There could be a wintry component to this one, but it's too early to get a good view yet.
Umbrellas up! Windshield wipers on! (And headlights on too!) I hope you're able to keep dry and stay safe out there — enjoy the rain!