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An aerial view of a wildfire in Lakewood on March 14th
An aerial view of a wildfire in Lakewood (Ocean County) on March 14th. Photo from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service Facebook page.

With March being a transitional weather and climate month, there are often pronounced differences in conditions from one day or week to the next. The third month of 2021 did not disappoint in several such respects. Swings in barometric pressure as storms and high pressure systems swung through the Northeast led to 16 days with one or more Rutgers NJ Weather Network stations gusting to 40 mph or higher, with 11 of those days exceeding 50 mph. Maximum temperatures exceeded 65°on 12 days (two days had record highs in some locations), while minimum temperatures fell below 19° on 13 days. Walpack, situated in a Sussex County valley, recorded the state’s lowest (21°) and highest (67°) temperatures on a single day (22nd) and just missed this again on the 30th. There was a two-week interval with virtually no precipitation, culminating in several wildfires on the 14th, yet five events occurred where rain accumulated to 0.98” in one or more locations. Finally, a record of sorts was tied as the statewide average snowfall totaled 0.0”, something observed eight other Marches in the past 127 years. The past two Marches are the only ones with back-to-back zero totals.

Statewide precipitation averaged 4.03”, which is 0.18” below the 1991–2020 average*. This made for the 58th wettest (70th driest) since 1895. Northern NJ was driest, coming in at 3.28” (-0.73, 48th driest), the south averaged 4.47” (+0.15”, 42nd wettest), and the coast 4.68” (+0.26”, 38th wettest). The southeast saw the most rain and northeast and central regions the least (Figure 1).

March temperature average 43.9°, which is 2.9° above the 1991–2020 average and the 14th mildest on record. The average high was 54.7° (+3.8°, 13th mildest) and average low was 33.0° (+1.8°, 19th mildest). The north averaged 41.2° (+2.4°, 19th mildest), south 45.6° (+3.2°, 13th mildest), and the coast 45.1° (+2.9°, 13th mildest).

Latest Extremes

City, State Temp
Lyndhurst, NJ 57
Stewartsville, NJ 56
Oceanport, NJ 55
East Brunswick, NJ 54
Hamilton, NJ 54
City, State Temp
Walpack, NJ 46
High Point Monument, NJ 47
High Point, NJ 49
Harvey Cedars, NJ 49
Vernon Twp., NJ 50
most current information as of Apr 15 4:45 AM

Latest Conditions & Forecast

New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers University Meteorology Program

54°F

Wind

0 mph from the SW

Wind Gust

2 mph from the SE

Cloudy
38 °F
Heavy Rain and Patchy Fog
49 °F
Heavy Rain and Breezy
33 °F
Breezy. Rain/Snow then Chance Rain/Snow
41 °F
Mostly Clear
27 °F
Sunny
50 °F
Mostly Clear
30 °F
Sunny
56 °F
Mostly Clear
33 °F
Sunny
56 °F
Mostly Clear
36 °F
Sunny
60 °F
Partly Cloudy
40 °F
Mostly Cloudy
59 °F

Tonight

Cloudy, with a low around 38. Calm wind.

Thursday

Rain, mainly after 9am. The rain could be heavy at times. Patchy fog between 7am and 8am. High near 49. Light east wind increasing to 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.

Thursday Night

Rain. The rain could be heavy at times. Low around 33. Breezy, with a north wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.

Friday

Rain, possibly mixed with snow before 1pm, then a chance of rain. High near 41. Breezy, with a north wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Friday Night

Mostly clear, with a low around 27. North wind 10 to 15 mph.

Saturday

Sunny, with a high near 50.

Saturday Night

Mostly clear, with a low around 30.

Sunday

Sunny, with a high near 56.

Sunday Night

Mostly clear, with a low around 33.

Monday

Sunny, with a high near 56.

Monday Night

Mostly clear, with a low around 36.

Tuesday

Sunny, with a high near 60.

Tuesday Night

Partly cloudy, with a low around 40.

Wednesday

Mostly cloudy, with a high near 59.

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Fate was clearly tempted when last month’s report was entitled: “Pretty Darn Boring.” Not that this wasn’t a truthful statement from both meteorological and climatological perspectives. So now this month’s title, being just as legitimate as January’s. The turnaround began in the waning hours of January 31st when what proved to be an impactful, long-lasting coastal storm began to invade the Garden State. This major event was followed by a series of storms that resulted in record or near record-setting monthly snowfall totals in northern and central regions and quite wet conditions in the...

Snowfall map for January 3rd-4th

The first month of 2021 lacked major storms, whether wet or white, and temperatures rarely were either quite mild or very cold. Thus the title of this report. Yes, the last day of the month turned snowy, the harbinger of anything but a boring start to February, but that’s to be covered next month. The January statewide average temperature was 33.7°. This was 3.0° above the 1981–2010 normal and ranks as the 26th mildest January in the past 127 years. The average high was 41.1°, which is 1.8° above normal and ranks 34th mildest, while the average low of 26.3° was 4.2° above normal, ranking...

Drone photos of tidal flooding near the morning high tide on December 17th

The statewide average temperature during this last month of 2020 averaged 37.0°. This was 1.8° above the 1981–2010 normal and ranks as the 22nd mildest December in the 126-year record that dates back to 1895. Northern and southern portions of NJ had similar departures and rankings. December precipitation (rain and the liquid equivalent of snow and sleet) averaged 6.24”. This includes rain measured at National Weather Service Cooperative Observing stations on the morning of December 1st but does not include rain measured at these stations for the 24 hours ending on the morning of January...

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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.

Soaking rains keep much of the Garden State green

July 17, 2014 - 10:59pm -- Dave Robinson

Heavy rain photo

The past week has seen localized soaking rains across much of NJ, though not everywhere has gotten clobbered. The map below shows rainfall totals from Sunday morning the 13th through the morning of the 16th. Over this roughly 72 hour interval as much as 8.52” fell in Howell Township (Monmouth County), followed by Belmar (Monmouth) with 7.42”, Wall Township (Ocean) 7.22”, Millstone Township (Monmouth) 5.98”, and Raritan (Somerset) 5.42”. To demonstrate the local variability of the precipitation, four Bridgewater (Somerset) locations received 5.09”, 4.55”, 4.41” and 3.88”. Differences were even more pronounced over distances of several tens of miles. For instance, only 20 miles from Howell, rainfall totaled just 0.89” at Seaside Heights (Ocean) to the south and 2.42” in Rumson (Monmouth) to the north.

On the Mild and Dry Side: June 2014 Summary and Mid-Year Recap

July 4, 2014 - 5:17pm -- Dave Robinson

Flood photo in Stewartsville

Statewide, the first six months of 2014 averaged 45.8°. This is 2.2° below normal and ranks as the 31st coolest since 1895. It was the coolest start since 2003, which was 45.0° and ranked 15th. Before then you have to go back to 1982 (45.3°), which ranked 20th. The chilliest was 1907 at 43.2°.

Precipitation (rain and melted snow) averaged 24.76" across NJ from January through June. This total is 2.11" above normal and is 26th wettest. Since 2003, four January-June intervals have been wetter, including last year. 2011 ranked one notch drier at 27th. The wettest first half of the year was 1983 at 32.51".

Heat, Rain, and Tropical Storms: Your Fourth of July Forecast

July 2, 2014 - 2:35pm -- Tom Karmel

Will this 4th of July holiday bring stormy or sunny skies?  (Photo credit: Dan Zarrow, ONJSC, 3/6/13)

The Fourth of July embodies the meaning of summer. Whether on a serene beach in Barnegat Light or in a crowded suburban backyard, New Jerseyans (and all Americans) come together for the day to celebrate our nation through excessive eating, relaxation, fireworks, and sporting the red, white, and blue. We welcome the chance to barbeque with family and friends, and just like any gathering, there is a family member you avoid... Maybe it's the uncle that eats all the food... Or the aunt who chews your ear off with anecdotes... This year, however, you'll have to keep an eye on Mother Nature.

This Friday forecast looms ahead of us with a chance of showers, which is nothing unusual. These storms look as though they should pass around noon, as a cold front advances through our region. However the impending impact of separate tropical system is far from the usual, as Tropical Storm Arthur was officially confirmed Tuesday morning.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Arthur is sitting just off the east coast of Florida and is predicted to accelerate north along the coast reaching Nova Scotia by Saturday. There is a possibility for landfall in North Carolina’s Outer Banks as a hurricane on early Friday morning before turning northeast during the day due to aforementioned front pushing it off the coast. With a bulk of the storm activity on the east side of the circulation, it will most likely not impact our area with rain as it turns away from the coast.

Rutgers in the Big Ten: a tradition of athletics, academics, and WEATHER

June 30, 2014 - 9:53am -- Dan Zarrow

Rutgers University Football Stadium
High Point Solutions Stadium at Rutgers University. (Photo: Wikipedia)

On July 1, Rutgers University officially becomes a member of the Big Ten Conference. In doing so, the Scarlet Knights join thirteen other schools in the Big Ten, bringing with it "new opportunities for academic collaboration and athletic competition."

In addition to a long-standing tradition of outstanding athletics and academics, 10 of the 14 universities in the Big Ten are home to their respective state's climate office. Each state climatologist serves as a focal point for all activities pertaining to the weather and climate of their state. The Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist at Rutgers University is proud to be among some great climatological company in the Big Ten.

In the spirit of that friendly, scholastic competition, we are putting the 14 Big Ten schools head-to-head in a weather and climatology showdown! Which school in which city and which state is the hottest? The coldest? The wettest? The snowiest? Click to find out!

Snow and more snow: 2013-2014 snow season recap

June 19, 2014 - 4:48pm -- Dave Robinson

Snow in Echo Lake Park

The record book on the winter of 2013-2014 officially closes on June 30. Given the recent streak of hot weather, and the summer solstice this Saturday, we're confident it's safe to run the calculations on seasonal snow totals a few days early. Indeed it will be hard for many New Jersey residents to forget this very active, cold, and snowy winter.

From first flake to last, this past season ranked 7th snowiest of the past 120 years. The statewide average snowfall was 54.3”, which is 28.4” (or 210%) above average. The most snow fell up north but ranked lowest of the three regions (14th) due to its normally higher seasonal average. The south had the least snow but ranked 9th highest. This was the third season on record that each of the three divisions recorded over 50"; the other two occurred in 1898-99 and 1957-58. All regions shared the snow load similarly through January. Snow was more plentiful in northern and central areas in February. The situation was reversed, exceedingly so, in March, when three accumulating events impacted the south but missed the other two regions.

A wet week: drenching rains and flash flooding visit opposite corners of the state

June 11, 2014 - 2:44pm -- Dan Zarrow

Photo of flash flooding in a parking lot

A steady stream of scattered showers and thunderstorms have brought heavy rain to several locations in New Jersey this week. And even more rain is in the forecast through the end of the week.

The deluge began on Monday morning, as commuters experienced periods of heavy, steady rain through parts of Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Union, Morris, Essex, and Bergen counties. The National Weather Service reported severe flash flooding in Newark, which required several motorists to be rescued.

Tuesday afternoon, another area of very heavy rain affected a narrow band in Camden, Gloucester, Burlington, and Atlantic counties. Rainfall estimates from the New Jersey Weather & Climate Network station in Sewell (Gloucester County) totaled almost 2 inches within just a half-hour from 4:30pm to 5:00pm on Tuesday. Widespread flash flooding, over a foot deep in spots, was reported to the National Weather Service by trained storm spotters and officials.

Typical Springtime Variability: May and Spring 2014 Summaries

June 7, 2014 - 1:01pm -- Dave Robinson

Flooding in Newark

May 2014 had a difficult time establishing an identity. What began with a storm that carried over from April 30th and resulted in the 7th largest flood of the past century in the Raritan basin on the 1st (see the April narrative for discussion of this event), later included some warm days, late freezes in a few locations, severe thunderstorms with hail in others, and a spectacular Memorial Day. Overall, May averaged 62.1°, which is 1.3° above average (compared to the 1981-2010 average). This ranks as the 35th warmest (tied with 1962) in the 120 years back to 1895. Precipitation averaged 5.18", which is 1.18" above average and ranks as 19th wettest. This value includes the considerable rain that fell on April 30th at National Weather Service Cooperative Stations that report during the morning hours (see April narrative for a full explanation).

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