High Wind Warning: Extended period of 40-60 mph gusts for NJ
Good morning! It's going to be a pretty active Sunday for New Jersey, with several concurrent weather stories going on. The biggest and most hazardous will be the arrival of some ferocious winds later on. Here's a quick rundown of what you need to know to stay prepared and stay safe.
Periods of rain will continue throughout Sunday morning. Occasional downpours and rumbles of thunder are possible. Rain will substantially end around 11 a.m. to Noon, with a few lingering rain showers into Sunday afternoon.
As the rain exits, skies will remain mostly cloudy. But a surge of warm air will push temperatures up rapidly during Sunday afternoon. Most of the state will end up firmly in the 50s. 60 degrees is a possible for interior South Jersey.
Windy, but not Gusty yet
It's going to be a pretty windy Sunday in general, with sustained winds of 10 to 20 mph throughout the rainy morning and warming afternoon. Don't be fooled though — the stronger gusts are yet to come.
That is transition time, as a strong cold front pushes through the Garden State. The front could spark another round of showers (rain or snow). Far more importantly, the frontal passage will open the door for some very strong wind gusts starting Sunday evening.
Behind the front, sustained westerly winds of 20 to 30 mph will arrive, with gusts as high as 40 to 60 mph. (Sustained winds represent the ambient wind speed, averaged over the course of 1 minute. Gusts are momentary bursts of wind, lasting no more than 20 seconds.)
At speeds below 40 mph, wind is mostly just an annoyance. (Unless you're boating, fighting a fire, flying an airplane, etc.) When gusts reach 50 or 60 mph, we reach "gale force" and minor to moderate damage is a possibility.
Your garbage cans and lawn ornaments may be blown across the street. Walking and driving may be difficult, especially in high-profile vehicles like trucks and vans. Shingles and siding may separate from buildings. A blowout tide may cause low water along coastal areas (this is a land breeze, not a sea breeze). Downed trees are possible, especially given the soggy soil from the morning rain. And of course, scattered power outages should be expected in this kind of wind storm too.
It's Not Just the Speed
The extended duration of these strong winds is also concerning. It's going to be gusty from about dinnertime on Sunday through about dinnertime on Monday. That's a full 24 hours of getting battered by potentially damaging winds. (Winds will not fully calm until late Tuesday.) If your power goes out, keep in mind it might be a while before crews can safely climb up a pole to fix it.
High Wind Warning
Beyond a simple Wind Advisory, a High Wind Warning has been issued for all 21 counties of New Jersey:
—From 2 p.m. Sunday to 6 p.m. Monday for Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties.
—From 4 p.m. Sunday to 6 p.m. Monday for Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Salem counties.
—From 10 p.m. Sunday to 6 p.m. Monday for Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union counties.
As the name cold front implies, the wind will carry cooler air back into New Jersey. I wouldn't call it an arctic blast, as we've seen a couple times this winter. Temperatures on Monday should range from about 30 in the morning to around 40 in the afternoon. Not terrible. And at least it will be bright and sunny!
However, the wind chill — the "feels like" temperature — will be stuck in the 20s all day. The combination of wind and cold cause your body to lose heat at an accelerated rate. You probably want to choose the heavier winter coat, hat, and gloves for Sunday night and Monday, even though it won't be frigid
Any Snow Coming?
We are watching a couple of storm systems this week, in the Wednesday-Thursday and Friday-Saturday time frames. While each could produce a little bit of snow somewhere in NJ, neither is going to be a blockbuster winter storm. As I've been saying, our next chance for a taste of big winter will be in the first week of March, as colder air and a more favorable storm track could combine to pile up some snow.