Wind dies down Tuesday, tracking late-week rain storm for NJ
Wind! Cold! Warmth! Rain! More wind! There's almost something for everyone in this forecast, leading up to the Winter Solstice and the start of the Christmas holiday weekend rush. I have to say almost, because there's little risk for any wintry weather over the next week to week-and-a-half. (No complaints from me!)
The wind has been howling for the past day, with overnight gusts as high as 40 mph (at Seaside Heights and Basking Ridge). The cause of the wind? The pressure gradient (difference) between our departing weekend storm system (low pressure) and approaching high pressure. In other words, our new cold air mass is now arriving with a big whoosh.
I think the strongest winds are behind us now, although Tuesday morning will remain "windy" and Tuesday afternoon will be breezy. Temperatures are going to remain stuck in the mid to upper 30s all day. (Beware the biting wind chill in the 20s.) At least skies will be bright and sunny throughout the state for most of the day.
The wind should calm completely Tuesday night. With clear skies and our new cold air mass, temperatures are going to plummet. Expect low temperatures in the lower to mid 20s, with some teens in the coldest places.
Wednesday actually reads like a pleasant mid-December day. (I think this is the first time I've called a day pleasant in a while!) It's a dry, partly sunny forecast with seasonable high temperatures in the lower to mid 40s. Yes, you'll need a jacket all day. But you'll never hear me complain about near-normal temperatures.
Both clouds and temperatures will increase on Thursday. As skies become mostly cloudy, thermometers will rise to about 45 to 50 degrees the afternoon hours And those temps will just keep rising through the overnight (so the calendar day "high temperature" will probably occur just before Midnight).
Of course, our next storm system comes into view on Thursday too. Just like last weekend's storm, it looks like mostly wet and not really wintry thanks to those warming temperatures.
Initial showers look to arrive in SW NJ around Thursday afternoon, becoming more widespread and heavier Thursday night into Friday morning.
I am not prepared to call Friday a total washout, but it will be a pretty wet day. Rainfall totals of 1 to 2 inches are likely, which could once again spur some flooding concerns. I am not seeing potentially damaging wind gusts or thunder/lightning at this time — but we will have to monitor the convective potential of this storm system with a high temperature near 60 degrees.
One more concern will be coastal flooding. The brisk easterly wind will produce a foot or two or surge. In addition, the next full moon occurs on Saturday — that could add another foot or two to the ambient, background astronomical tide. I'm worried the end result here will be widespread minor to moderate flooding of tidal waterways during Friday's high tide cycles. That goes beyond "the usual spots" (LBI, Wildwood, along 35 and 36, etc.) and could necessitate some road/lane closures. Definitely something worth watching for Jersey Shore residents.
As our latest storm system wraps up, additional showers will be possible Saturday morning. As a brisk northerly wind starts to push colder air back into New Jersey, there could be some snow or wintry mix to the northwest at the very tail end.
High pressure builds in for Sunday, Monday (Christmas Eve), and Tuesday (Christmas Day). That will keep our weather quiet, seasonable, and dry.
Sorry Bing, Christmas does not look white for New Jersey this year.