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Global Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies
Figure 1. Global Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies on December 11, 2014.

As we have mentioned in our past evaluations of the El Niño’s significance in the summer and fall, we are back again to analyze the wintertime impacts of a developing El Niño on New Jersey weather. An El Niño occurs when warmer-than-average waters exist in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean, specifically near the equatorial latitudes. This warming is due to a weakening of winds moving to the west, which typically transport warmer waters to the western Pacific, permitting cooler water to upwell to the surface in the east. When these winds are weaker or if they reverse direction, warm water stays in the east. The warmer sea surface temperatures in the east and the altered atmospheric flow pattern create a new dynamic between the ocean and atmosphere. The newly formed interaction sets up distinct and repetitive weather patterns across the world. No two El Niño events are alike; they vary depending on the magnitude and location of where the largest temperature anomalies are found. However, each one tends to alter weather patterns outside the overall norm.

Latest Conditions & Forecast

Enter a zipcode to view the latest conditions, forecasts, graphs, maps and more for the location nearest to you.

New Brunswick, NJ

30°F

Wind

3 mph from the NW

Wind Gust

4 mph from the NW

Mostly Cloudy
39 °F
Mostly Cloudy
27 °F
Partly Sunny
42 °F
Partly Cloudy
29 °F
Chance Rain
45 °F
Chance Rain
39 °F
Chance Rain
49 °F
Rain Likely
46 °F
Heavy Rain
54 °F
Heavy Rain
39 °F
Partly Sunny
45 °F
Mostly Clear
32 °F
Mostly Sunny
46 °F

Today

Mostly cloudy, with a high near 39. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the afternoon.

Tonight

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 27. Light north wind.

Sunday

Partly sunny, with a high near 42. North wind 3 to 5 mph.

Sunday Night

Partly cloudy, with a low around 29. Calm wind.

Monday

A chance of rain after 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 45. East wind 5 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Monday Night

A chance of rain. Cloudy, with a low around 39. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Tuesday

A chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 49. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Tuesday Night

Rain likely. Cloudy, with a low around 46. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Wednesday

Rain likely. The rain could be heavy at times. Cloudy, with a high near 54. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Wednesday Night

Rain likely. The rain could be heavy at times. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 39. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Christmas Day

Partly sunny, with a high near 45.

Thursday Night

Mostly clear, with a low around 32.

Friday

Mostly sunny, with a high near 46.

Latest Extremes

City, State Temp
Carneys Point, NJ 34
Logan Twp., NJ 33
Sea Bright, NJ 33
West Cape May, NJ 33
Cherry Hill, NJ 33
City, State Temp
High Pt. Monument, NJ 22
High Point, NJ 23
Netcong, NJ 26
Charlotteburg, NJ 27
Pittstown, NJ 27
most current information as of Dec 20 6:33 AM

More News

Wantage snow Nov 27

While cooler conditions took some time to arrive in New Jersey this fall, once here they locked in for the most part, as the November average temperature of 41.9° was 3.7° below the 1981-2010 average. This ranks as the 24th coolest November of the past 120 years. November precipitation (rain and melted snow) averaged 4.58" across the state. This is 0.94" above average and ranks as 31st wettest. On two occasions measurable snow was reported in northern and central areas, with these regions, respectively, picking up 4.6" and 1.9" on average for the month, with over a foot accumulating at...

Waterspout photo

The tenth month of 2014 bucked the recent tendency toward dry conditions in northern New Jersey and proved to be the warmest month compared to normal since October 2013. Statewide, the October average temperature of 57.0° was 2.2° above the 1981-2010 average. This ranks as the 23rd warmest (tied with 1955) in 120 years (since records began in 1895). The average precipitation across NJ was 3.78". This is 0.15" below the mean and ranks as the 51st wettest October. Rainfall was above average in what have been some of the driest northern counties since mid summer. Still, from Mercer and...

Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

Early this past summer, we reported on the potential impacts of a developing El Niño event in the tropical Pacific on summertime weather in New Jersey. While El Niños can impact the weather worldwide, we found that New Jersey's weather doesn't fluctuate with an El Niño event. This year's summer (June-August) proved to be rather comfortable, with the statewide average temperature 0.8° below the 1981-2010 average , and precipitation 0.26” above the 1981-2010 average. These mild conditions replicated what we expect out of an El Niño summer. Now we’re back to tell you the story for the fall.

Latest Blog Posts

Storm Chasing Photo 2
From May 28 to June 10, 2014, 15 aspiring meteorologists from Rutgers University headed on a journey to the central US on the hunt for tornadoes. This trip was a Rutgers course designed to teach students how to forecast severe weather, and actually witness severe storms first hand, with the possibility of seeing a tornado. Tornado chasing popularity has been on the rise because of popular TV...
Our now-retired web site that for many years dutifully disseminated valuable New Jersey weather and climate data to citizens, educators, government officials and agencies, emergency managers and more was in need of an update. Today, we're pleased to make our new web site available to the general public for the first time. This latest incarnation of the New Jersey Weather and Climate Network,...

More News

A Cool Damp Month, and All Things Considered, a Rather Average Season: November and Fall 2014 Recap

December 7, 2014 - 7:32pm -- Dave Robinson

Wantage snow Nov 27

While cooler conditions took some time to arrive in New Jersey this fall, once here they locked in for the most part, as the November average temperature of 41.9° was 3.7° below the 1981-2010 average. This ranks as the 24th coolest November of the past 120 years. November precipitation (rain and melted snow) averaged 4.58" across the state. This is 0.94" above average and ranks as 31st wettest. On two occasions measurable snow was reported in northern and central areas, with these regions, respectively, picking up 4.6" and 1.9" on average for the month, with over a foot accumulating at higher elevations. Despite no snow accumulating in the south, the statewide average was 1.7", which is 1.3" above average. It is only the second November to average above an inch since 1995, the other in 2012. A Thanksgiving eve storm delivered a white Thanksgiving to central and northern counties.

Mild With Some Beneficial Rain: October 2014 Recap

November 3, 2014 - 4:57pm -- Dave Robinson

Waterspout photo

The tenth month of 2014 bucked the recent tendency toward dry conditions in northern New Jersey and proved to be the warmest month compared to normal since October 2013. Statewide, the October average temperature of 57.0° was 2.2° above the 1981-2010 average. This ranks as the 23rd warmest (tied with 1955) in 120 years (since records began in 1895). The average precipitation across NJ was 3.78". This is 0.15" below the mean and ranks as the 51st wettest October. Rainfall was above average in what have been some of the driest northern counties since mid summer. Still, from Mercer and Middlesex counties northward, precipitation has only been 50-75% of normal the past three months. Thus this area is still considered "abnormally dry" on the US Drought Monitor map.

El Niño Potential: Fall Impacts

October 15, 2014 - 10:12pm -- Jack McCarty

Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

Early this past summer, we reported on the potential impacts of a developing El Niño event in the tropical Pacific on summertime weather in New Jersey. While El Niños can impact the weather worldwide, we found that New Jersey's weather doesn't fluctuate with an El Niño event. This year's summer (June-August) proved to be rather comfortable, with the statewide average temperature 0.8° below the 1981-2010 average , and precipitation 0.26” above the 1981-2010 average. These mild conditions replicated what we expect out of an El Niño summer. Now we’re back to tell you the story for the fall.

Increasingly Dry in the North: September 2014 Recap

October 6, 2014 - 3:04pm -- Dave Robinson

Dry grass

Combined with below-average precipitation in August, the northern half of New Jersey has become quite dry. Conversely, rainfall has been more common in the south, thus despite a drier-than-average September, the two-month total is slightly above average. Looking first at September, statewide precipitation averaged 2.82". This is 1.25" below the 1981-2010 average and ranks as the 46th driest September since 1895. From Hunterdon, Somerset, and Union counties northward, only 1.49" fell, which is 3.00" below average and ranks as 7th driest. The southern counties averaged 3.47", which is 0.40" below average and ranks as 56th wettest.

Heat Events in New Brunswick: A Climatological Analysis

September 16, 2014 - 1:27pm -- Jack McCarty

Heat wave photo

The summertime in New Jersey is characterized by warm temperatures that give some relief from cold and dreary wintertime conditions. However, amongst pleasant summer days, the atmosphere can align in a way that makes the heat on other days rather unbearable — something that we commonly refer to as a heat wave. Heat waves have a large impact on public health, utilities, infrastructure and more, which is why we often hear the media discussing heat waves across the nation. While heat waves may call for a day at the beach, they're also a cause for public concern.

Comfort Reigns: August and Summer of 2014 Recaps

September 3, 2014 - 5:50pm -- Dave Robinson

Surf photo

A month ago, many NJ residents felt July was quite cool, while in fact it was just 0.4° below the 1981-2010 mean. Such was not the case in August, which truly was on the cool side. The statewide average temperature of 71.0° was 2.4° below average. It ranks as the 32nd coolest since 1895. Even when compared to the 1895-present mean, the month was 1.5° below average. Days with a maximum temperature of 90° or greater were hard to find, certainly a characteristic of the summer of 2014, which will be discussed later in this narrative.

Precipitation varied widely across the Garden State in August, rather typical of a summer month in these parts. Individual station totals ranged from 12.33” in Lacey Township (Ocean County) to 1.01” in Hillsborough (Somerset). When monthly totals from several dozen long-term stations were averaged together, the statewide precipitation was 4.39”. This is 0.18” above the 1981-2010 mean (0.26” below the 1895-present mean) and ranks as the 53rd wettest of the past 120 Augusts. It must be noted that the heavy rain that fell after 8 AM on the 31st is not accounted for in most August station totals. For the monthly state average, only several stations that observe at midnight have their full August 31st totals included, while monthly totals at most other National Weather Service Cooperative stations only run through the morning of the 31st. For more on this observing practice, see the April 2014 report.

New Jersey Hurricane Hunting: A brief recap of a small state’s big hurricane history

August 21, 2014 - 1:35pm -- Tom Karmel

Doria flooding photo

With more than a third of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season behind us, many may assume this season has been quiet. However, the two hurricanes already named mark the first time since 1992 when the first two named storms have reached hurricane strength and the first time there have been two hurricanes by this date since 2008. With the peak of the tropical season yet to come, the question is whether the heart of the season will be active or quiet. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center recently updated their seasonal forecast, projecting only a 5% chance of an active season and 70% chance of a less than normal one. Still, it only takes one storm to seriously impact NJ, so we can never let our guard down. With this in mind, here is a brief history of memorable tropical cyclones affecting New Jersey and a summary of the frequency of storms through the hurricane season.

Mid-Atlantic Deluge

August 13, 2014 - 5:40pm -- Dave Robinson

Rainfall estimate map

Extremely heavy rain drenched portions of the Mid-Atlantic during the daytime hours on August 12 until after sunrise on the 13th. Starting off in the Washington-Baltimore area and moving up into central Long Island, a narrow ribbon of rainfall exceeding 5”, and over 10” in a few locales, resulted in flash flooding that resulted in water rescues and many damaged roads and vehicles. Excessively heavy rains, occasionally accompanied by lightning, traveled up a frontal boundary that was associated with an unusually strong August low-pressure system situated over the Great Lakes. The atmospheric impulses riding up this front joined forces with abundant atmospheric moisture (in the top 1% for the region) to bring multiple inches per hour rainfall rates…for multiple hours.

The heaviest rain was situated within less than a 10-mile wide path. Within 20 miles on either side, totals fell off to a mere inch or two, or even less. Such is the nature of these events, where despite the abundant atmospheric moisture, there is a finite amount of water available. The dynamics concentrated the atmospheric lifting, thus the condensation of the majority of the moisture and resultant rainfall, while adjacent areas balanced out the lifted air with subsiding air that greatly limited rainfall totals.

A Rather Average July, Believe It or Not: July 2014 Summary

August 4, 2014 - 6:26pm -- Dave Robinson

Thunderstorm photo

Despite a general feeling amongst NJ residents that July 2014 was a cold summer month, in actuality, compared to long-term records, it was rather average. The statewide average temperature of 74.5° was 0.5° below the 1981-2010 mean. However, it was 0.3° above the 1895-present mean and ranked as the 45th warmest July of the past 119 years. Even the number of afternoons with temperatures of 90° or higher was close to normal. So why the common misperception? Some armchair psychology brings me to four possibilities:

1) The first half of the month was above average, while the more recent weeks were on the cool side. Our perceptions are biased toward the most recent.

2) People have yet to “recover" from the cold start of 2014. The dubious media ramblings of the “polar vortex" returning to the eastern US in mid-July fueled these thoughts.

3) The most recent four NJ Julys all rank in the top six for warmth over the past 119 years. This was an amazing run of hot Julys.

4) Those sticking their toes in the Jersey surf in early July were shocked by water temperatures in the 50°s and may have equated this to the cool July atmosphere. The cold surf was actually indicative of persistent southerly winds that brought atmospheric warmth. This wind flow led to coastal upwelling that pushed warmer surface waters offshore and introduced cool deeper waters to the surf zone.

So this is how a normal July feels...

July 27, 2014 - 8:45pm -- Dave Robinson

Beach sunset photo

Another comfortable mid-summer air mass is destined to invade the Garden State this week. This arrives on the heels of several other mild, dry air masses that have contributed to making this a rather average July in the temperature department. While many may think that this has been an exceptionally cool summer, it has not. However, given that the most recent four Julys all ranked within the top six for heat dating all the way back to 1895, all are forgiven for any misperception!

The overall pattern that has led to temperatures more often being on the cool than than warm side of the ledger since last fall is one of pronounced waviness in the jet stream, with a resultant tendency for a ridge (northward swing) in western North America and a trough (dip in the jet) in the east. This allows cool and dry air to infiltrate our region, with warm and humid air kept at bay to the south. It has also kept the west in severe drought and plenty warm.

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