Thunderstorm grand finale: Flash flooding, severe weather likely again Thursday
I said Wednesday's rain would be "hit or miss," and wow was that an understatement. More like "feast or famine" or "drops vs. drenched". While much of northern and southern New Jersey remained rain-free, a nearly stationary thunderstorm soaked Salem, Gloucester, Camden, and Burlington counties for about 12 hours straight. Radar estimates rainfall totals in spots topped 4 inches — it's no wonder we had widespread flooding and water rescues in that area overnight.
As of this writing (5:30 a.m.), that batch of heavy rain has finally unhinged itself and drifted north. The rainfall is not as torrential as it had been, so the flooding threat has been much reduced. However, it will be a wet commute for some, as moderate rain will continue to impact that area of the Garden State through about the 8 o'clock area.
Then your Thursday turns mostly dry, aside from a few isolated showers. Peeks of sunshine will push high temperatures into the lower to mid 80s. (Oh yes, you are definitely going to feel the humidity too.) As our atmosphere "cooks" and becomes more and more unstable, it will be primed for some loud thunderstorms.
The grand finale of this stormy week of weather will come later on. Starting around 3 or 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon, strong to severe thunderstorms will start popping up in New Jersey. Torrential rain and gusty winds are likely. Hail and an isolated tornado are possible. It's definitely a day to stay "weather aware" — stay alert to changing weather conditions, and be prepared to take action and/or change plans in case warnings are issued.
These storms will impact the evening commute. And any outdoor graduation ceremonies scheduled for Thursday evening will be in jeopardy.
Because the ground is now thoroughly soaked, flash flooding will be an immediate concern with any duration of heavy rain. A Flash Flood Watch continues until 1 a.m. Friday for 16 counties in New Jersey: Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren.
Showers and thunderstorms will continue for a bit Thursday night. Yes, I've promised you drier air — but it's not going to arrive overnight. It's going to remain damp and foggy and steamy, with low temperatures only falling into the upper 60s.
Rain will finally exit the coast Friday morning, let's say by 10 a.m. at the latest. Skies will then become partly to mostly sunny, with a brisk northwesterly breeze occasionally kicking over 20 mph. Humidity levels will drop like a stone, so it will become much more comfortable by Friday afternoon. High temperatures should reach the upper 70s to around 80 degrees. Overall, your First Day of Summer is going to turn into a lovely day. (The Summer Solstice officially occurs at 11:54 a.m. EDT.)
The weekend still looks great too! Saturday will be bright and sunny, breezy, and dry with seasonably warm high temps in the lower 80s. On Sunday, temperatures will bump into the mid 80s under partly sunny skies.
The warmup continues into next week, with a daily chance for 90-degree temps for the first half of the week. Humidity will build a little bit, but I don't think it's going to be truly oppressive. Rain chances are non-zero, but few and far between. I'm seeing a chance for a late-day thunderstorm on Monday. And a front may spark a few showers and storms on Tuesday. A much drier and calmer week of weather!
Be smart and stay safe out there Thursday. As always, we'll be here to bring you the latest weather, traffic, and news updates if and when severe weather threatens New Jersey.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.
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