My top three concerns, in order, as coastal storm arrives in NJ
Initial raindrops from our coastal storm have begun to fall in South Jersey. And that rain will continue to spread north and intensify Friday evening. It's going to be a rough night, with the worst weather yet to come Saturday morning.
I wanted to provide one more forecast update with some insight into which storm impacts are going to be the most significant here in the Garden State. There are some updated warnings and advisories to tell you about too.
Here are my three biggest concerns (in order) as this nasty nor'easter begins to bear down on New Jersey:
1.) 50+ mph Wind Gusts
What? Scattered power outages, downed tree limbs, driving difficulties, and airborne Halloween decorations.
When? Winds will start to kick over 20 mph after Midnight. Peak gusts up to 50 mph are expected just after sunrise Saturday morning (7-8 a.m.) Winds will calm significantly by Saturday afternoon.
Where? The highest winds (50+ mph) are expected along the eastern edge of New Jersey (i.e. the immediate coast). But there will be some ferocious winds further inland too (40+ mph).
High Wind Warning from 3 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday for Monmouth and Ocean counties, calling for easterly sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 60 mph.
Wind Advisory from Midnight to 11 a.m. Saturday for Atlantic and Cape May counties, cautioning of 20 to 30 mph sustained winds with gusts to 45 mph.
Wind Advisory from 1 a.m. to Noon Saturday for eastern Bergen, eastern Essex, Hudson, and eastern Union counties, in advance of 20 to 30 mph sustained winds with gusts to 50 mph.
Wind Advisory from 3 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday for Middlesex County, suggesting 15 to 25 mph sustained winds with gusts to 50 mph.
2.) 2+ Feet of Storm Surge
What? Widespread flooding of tidal waterways is likely during high tide. That is sufficient to inundate roadways and make them impassable in "the usual spots". There may be some property damage in vulnerable, low-lying areas — be mindful of where you park your car during the storm.
When? Saturday morning's high tide cycle is still the only one of concern for now. Tides are expected to crest in the 9 a.m. hour along the oceanfront, and up to 3 hours later along back bays and tributaries.
Where? With the strongest winds blowing from the east-northeast, any beaches and tidal waterways with an east-northeast exposure will experience the biggest push of water. In other words, the biggest flooding risk will stretch from Ocean to Monmouth (including the Raritan Bay).
What Else? 8+ foot ocean waves may cause moderate to significant beach erosion, in addition to dangerous rip currents.
Coastal Flood Warning from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday for Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties, calling for widespread moderate to localized major tidal flooding.
Coastal Flood Warning from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday for Atlantic, southeastern Burlington, and Cape May counties, suggesting minor to moderate tidal flooding.
Coastal Flood Warning from 9 a.m. to Noon Saturday for eastern Essex, Hudson, and eastern Union counties, calling for widespread minor to moderate tidal flooding.
Coastal Flood Advisory from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for Cumberland County, raising concerns for minor tidal flooding along the Delaware Bay shoreline.
Coastal Flood Advisory from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday for Salem County, cautioning of minor flooding along the Delaware Bay, Salem River, and Oldmans Creek.
Coastal Flood Advisory from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday for northwestern Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Mercer counties, upping the potential for tidal flooding along the Delaware River to the minor category.
3.) 2+ Inches of Rain
What? It's going to rain. It's going to pour, at times. There will be a minor flash flooding risk during the heaviest downpours. Falling leaves may block gutters and storm drains, exacerbating the flood potential. Those wet leaves will also make roadways extra-slippery during and after the storm.
When? Steady, heavy rain will overtake the Garden State from south to north Friday evening through early Saturday morning. The wet weather will start to taper off after Noon Saturday, with rain exiting New Jersey completely by late Saturday evening.
Where? Everybody in the state gets wet. Lowest rainfall totals, possibly under an inch, will be in NW NJ. Most of the state will see between 1 and 2 inches of rain. Over two inches will be possible where it really pours, most likely along the Jersey Shore.
Flash Flood Watch from 2 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for Atlantic, southeastern Burlington, Cape May, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties.
It should be no surprise that the coast gets smacked hardest by this coastal storm system. However, even if you live far inland, away from the ocean, the wind and rain are going to pose a significant nuisance (if not a significant hazard) for you.
Dozens, if not hundreds, of outdoor activities were postponed or cancelled Saturday, and with good reason. All week long, I've described this storm system's impacts as "nasty". As long as it plays out according to my forecast, I think you'll agree with that description. Just look out the window when you wake up Saturday morning.
Be smart. Stay safe. We'll be here with the latest weather, traffic, and news updates during and after the storm.