UPDATE: It's Wednesday, and we're still raining. That's 5 days in a row.
Keep the umbrellas near you, South Jersey. There is the potential we are in the midst of the longest stretch of wet weather in history.
Measurable rainfall was recorded Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The forecast for the next seven days includes a chance of rain, heavy at times, for each one. Even beyond seven days, it looks more and more like that the next day of completely dry weather will not be until May 25, or later, whenever the pattern breaks.
If that were to happen, it would put us at a stretch of 13 days with measurable precipitation, tying the 142-year-old record set in Atlantic City. Cape May (11 days) and Millville Executive Airport (10 days) would also have new records. That being said, most days will not be a washout.
The reason for our weather pattern is a west to east, snaking front, meandering between Interstates 80 and 70.
“The front is east to west, which means it’s not moving much. You need something to push it out, which we’re not seeing,” said Dave Robinson, New Jersey’s state climatologist.
Typically, large high-pressure systems, strong low-pressure systems or tropical storms are needed to break a weather pattern. However, firmly in the warm season, this is tough to achieve.
“The mid-latitude cyclones (that would push out this kind of system) are weakening because the thermal gradient isn’t as great during the warm season as (it is) during the winter months,” Robinson noted.
Southeastern New Jersey has seen between 2 to 3 inches of rain in May so far, mostly coming during the recent four-day stretch. Leading the way is Hammonton, with 3.02 inches as of Monday afternoon. Robinson said that is among the wettest places in the state. Halfway through the month, this is par for the course.
“It’s not an excessive amount of rain, it’s a welcome amount,” Robinson replied.
However, between 3 to 6 inches of rain is expected over the next seven days, as waves of disturbances pass through the region. Global computer models agree South Jersey will be caught in the cross hairs of this unsettled weather. Fortunately, The National Weather Service in Mount Holly is not anticipating any widespread flooding issues in South Jersey.
“Many of these rainmakers would be fast-movers, helping to limit the threat,” said Ray Kruzdlo, senior service hydrologist for the National Weather Service.
However, they will watch and pay special attention along the coast. Tuesday’s new moon and onshore flow Wednesday will put the region just near or just into minor flood stage for the middle of the week.
“The barrier islands will have a tough time draining (the rainfall water out), especially if we start seeing the higher high tides. When you combine that with the rainfall runoff, the typical nuisance type flooding after an event will be greater, Kruzdlo said.