– Breezy, dry tomorrow; risk of fire spread
– Cooler temperatures return for rest of week
– Rain finally likely towards Sunday, early next week
After mostly cloudy skies yesterday, cloud cover cleared this morning to mostly sunny, resulting in what easily became the hottest day of the year so far and an unusually warm day this early in the year. Temperatures surged into the upper 80s to lower 90s across northern NJ, SE NY and interior southern CT, with lower to upper 80s in NYC and lower 70s to lower 80s in Long Island and coastal southern CT. The wind direction ended up being more from the south/SSE than expected, which prevented places such as Newark and Teterboro in NE NJ from reaching 90 degrees. Temperatures in the 90s were also observed further north towards northern Connecticut and Massachusetts.
The heat was only here for one day, as a dry cold front will move through tomorrow, with temperatures dropping back into the 60s and 70s for the rest of the week through the early weekend. No rain is expected this week with a risk of a few showers on Saturday, although there is an increasingly strong signal on the models that a more notable rain event may take place towards Sunday and early next week, which if verifies would be the first notable rain event the area had since the winter months.
As a cold front will move through the region, temperatures will end up cooler tomorrow although still warmer than average. Mostly to partly sunny skies are expected with highs reaching the lower to mid 70s across the area, with upper 70s in parts of the immediate NYC area.
The wind will switch to a NW direction tomorrow, gusting up to 25-30 mph, which combined with low humidity and the ongoing drought, will increase the risk of fire spread should any fire ignite. The National Weather Service in Upton issued a Fire Weather Watch for the entire area tomorrow. As seen last week with the Meadowlands fire, there is an enhanced risk of fires with this dry pattern.
Wednesday – Saturday: Mild, Mostly Dry
A cooler air mass will briefly move in on Wednesday, with highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s across the area along with partly sunny skies. Warmer temperatures will return on Thursday with partly sunny skies and highs reaching the upper 60s to lower 70s across most of the area. No rain is expected on both days.
On Friday, the next low pressure will approach, staying north of the area. As a result, south winds are expected, with highs rising into the upper 60s and 70s away from the coast, where temperatures will likely stay below the upper 60s. As a cold front slowly approaches, scattered showers may develop towards Saturday.
Sunday – Early Next Week: Rain Returns
Since the start of 2012, there have been very little notable rain events, with a lack of 1/2 inch rain storms observed over the last month and a half. The latest models are all showing a significant rain event for the area by Sunday into early next week but vary with the specific details; the ECM shows a big storm with heavy rain and gusty winds, the CMC shows moderate rain, and the GFS shows 1-2+ inches of rain but varies from run to run, for example showing heavy steady rain on its morning runs while spreading the rain throughout a few days on its 18z run.
During the winter months and the spring as well, the models frequently overestimated the intensity of storms in the long range, backing down on the storm intensity and the amount of cold associated as the storm approached the shorter range. This is especially true with the recent dry pattern, where several storms modeled to produce moderate rain ended up having either light rain or nothing. The set up in this case is more favorable for a storm to finally affect the area with at least moderate rain, although the big storm scenario shown on some models is still questionable, and at this time I am thinking that a somewhat more progressive and weaker storm moves through, still bringing the potential for moderate rain but perhaps not the widespread 1-2+ inch shown on some models. Stay tuned for more information on this time period and the potential storm.