After two weeks with very little rain, many areas of New Jersey will likely get drenched with heavy rain during the next two days, thanks to a slow-moving storm system that is expected to transition into a coastal storm, forecasters said.
The storm could dump as much as 2 to 3 inches of rain on some parts of the Garden State and generate wind gusts as strong as 45 to 55 mph along the Jersey Shore and 30 to 40 mph in interior sections of the state, the National Weather Service said Thursday evening.
Those strong winds blowing from the north and east could cause minor to moderate coastal flooding, along with big waves that may pound the Shore hard enough to cause beach erosion, the weather service said. Some rivers and streams also could rise high and trigger flooding in localized areas that get hit with heavy rain over a short time.
“It appears as though our first threat of coastal flooding with be with Saturday night’s high tide,” the weather service’s Mount Holly office said in its public forecast discussion. “There is the potential for widespread minor flooding and perhaps a fair amount of moderate flooding at that time. Additional rounds of tidal flooding are possible into the early part of the new week.”
The storm started out as a low pressure system in the central Plains, and it will be moving across the eastern United States on Friday, then offshore on Saturday, when it is expected to redevelop into a coastal storm, forecasters said.
Forecasters from AccuWeather and the National Weather Service say the storm system may linger in the Atlantic Ocean, off the southeastern U.S. coast, for a few days early next week, which could generate strong wind gusts, rough surf and spotty showers in New Jersey and other eastern states on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
On top of the drenching rain and gusty winds on Saturday, temperatures will likely be stuck in the low to mid-50s — far cooler than normal for early May, when daytime highs usually average about 70 degrees.
Possible drought buster
One bright spot to the drenching rain that’s on the way: It will likely erase the rainfall deficit and wipe out any drought concerns in southern New Jersey. Just four weeks ago, most of South Jersey had “moderate drought” conditions, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center, which monitors drought conditions across the U.S.
After a series of rain storms in April, most of New Jersey saw significant improvements in dry ground conditions and slow stream flows, but several counties in South Jersey still remain classified as “abnormally dry” as of Thursday, May 5.
Current weather radar
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Len Melisurgo may be reached at LMelisurgo@njadvancemedia.com.