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Photo of Pittstown NJWxNet station
Figure 2. View of Pittstown NJWxNet station in Hunterdon County

Observations of soil temperature and water content are among the many variables gathered at stations within the Rutgers NJ Weather Network (NJWxNet). While observations at 5 and 10 centimeter (cm) depths for water content have been taken at about a dozen NJWxNet stations as far back as 2003, only since 2013 have soil temperature and water content observations been taken at 5 cm, 10 cm, 20 cm, and 50 cm at currently nine stations across New Jersey. The soil and atmospheric observations at these sites provide an understanding of soil–atmosphere interactions, such as how soil conditions respond to atmospheric forcings. Soil temperature and water content also influence atmospheric conditions; however, this is exceedingly difficult if not impossible to demonstrate at individual locations. Prior to the advent of the NJWxNet, soil temperature and water content observations were almost completely lacking across NJ. This was the rule across the United States and beyond until recently when mesonets, such as the NJWxNet, began providing vital data that will continue to lead to improved short- and long-term weather and climate forecasts.

The objective of this report is to introduce the soil data being gathered at NJWxNet stations and to demonstrate the potential value of these observations to agricultural, hydrological, meteorological, engineering, and other communities. For instance, for the agricultural community, the difference between a bountiful harvest and a subpar one is quite dependent on soil conditions, not solely on what is occuring in the atmosphere. Understanding present soil conditions and analyzing past trends of soil water content and temperature can help a farmer determine when to plant, what crops to plant and, once growth commences, when to irrigate.

Latest Extremes

City, State Temp
Upper Deerfield, NJ 92
West Deptford, NJ 92
South Harrison, NJ 91
Berkeley Twp., NJ 91
Logan Twp., NJ 91
City, State Temp
High Point Monument, NJ 78
Stewartsville, NJ 80
West Cape May, NJ 81
Ramsey, NJ 81
Charlotteburg, NJ 81
most current information as of Aug 21 3:57 PM

Latest Conditions & Forecast

New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers University Meteorology Program

88°F

Wind

6 mph from the SSW

Wind Gust

10 mph from the SSW

Heavy Rain
72 °F
Heavy Rain and Patchy Fog
91 °F
Chance T-storms
67 °F
Chance T-storms then Chance Showers
91 °F
Chance Showers then Chance T-storms
61 °F
Chance T-storms
80 °F
Sunny
62 °F
Partly Cloudy
82 °F
Mostly Sunny
61 °F
Partly Cloudy then Chance Showers
78 °F
Chance Showers
64 °F
Chance Showers
78 °F
Chance Showers then Chance T-storms
66 °F
Chance T-storms then Chance Showers
80 °F
Chance Showers then Chance T-storms
°F

This Afternoon

Showers and thunderstorms likely. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds and heavy rain. Partly sunny, with a high near 91. Heat index values as high as 100. South wind around 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Tonight

Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly before 2am. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds and heavy rain. Patchy fog after 5am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 72. Southwest wind 5 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Thursday

A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 91. West wind 6 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Thursday Night

A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 67. North wind around 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Friday

A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 80. North wind 5 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Friday Night

A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 8pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 61. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Saturday

Sunny, with a high near 82.

Saturday Night

Partly cloudy, with a low around 62.

Sunday

Mostly sunny, with a high near 78.

Sunday Night

A chance of showers after 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 61. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Monday

A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 78. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Monday Night

A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 64. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Tuesday

A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 80. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Tuesday Night

A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 66. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Wednesday

A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 82.

Search by zipcode or city/state for the latest conditions, forecasts, graphs, maps and more nearest to you.

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Record Warmth Returns: April 2017 Recap

May 5, 2017 - 2:19pm -- Dave Robinson

Cherry blossom photo

Following a March with the first substantially below-average monthly temperature anomaly in NJ in over a year, April brought a return to record warmth last seen in February. With a statewide average of 56.0°, the month was 5.1° above the 1981–2010 mean. This ranked as the warmest April since statewide records commenced in 1895. Five of the top 10 and nine of the top 20 mildest Aprils of the past 123 years have occurred since 2002. With the warmth of January, February, and April hardly balanced by the colder March, this year is off to the 4th warmest start on record. Only January–April averages in 2012, 1998, and 2002 were higher, and five of the eight mildest such intervals in the past 123 years have been since 2002. The 12-month period from May 2016 through April 2017 was the third warmest on record at 55.5°. It was only surpassed by May 2011–April 2012 (56.5°) and 2015–2016 (56.2°). Twelve of the 15 warmest such intervals of the past 123 years have occurred since 1999, the others being in 1931–1932 (#10), 1990–1991 (#11), and 1991–1992 (#14).

Long Winded: March 2017 Recap

April 4, 2017 - 4:15pm -- Dave Robinson

Damaged Magnolia

With the Northern Hemisphere atmosphere transitioning from winter to spring, March can be a month of frequently-changing weather with pronounced pressure gradients, thus punctuated by windy conditions. This past March was no exception, and in fact, a windier month would be difficult to find. Winds gusted to 50 mph or greater at one or more NJWxNet station on 11 days and between 40–49 mph on four other days. At most locations, the warmest daily average temperature of the month was, of all things, on March 1st, while the first 80° day of the year was on the 25th. In between those warm spells was the largest snowstorm of the year in central and northern locations and two weeks of some of the coldest weather of the winter. Finally, March went out like a lion, with a statewide soaking rainstorm on the 31st.

The statewide monthly average temperature of 38.9° was 1.9° below the 1981–2010 average. This ranks as the 61st coldest of the past 123 Marches. It was the first month with a below-average temperature since last May, which was only 0.3° below average and last April with a 0.1° negative anomaly. While not exceptionally cold, due to the record warm February average of 40.1°, this was only the third time on record when March was colder than the previous February. This occurred previously in 1984 and 1960. The 1960 occurrence was mainly due to March being the second coldest on record, while in 1984, February was 9th mildest and March 10th coolest. On average, March is 7.3° warmer than February. While the cold of March damaged blossoms of some prematurely-blooming trees and flowers, vegetation was not far enough along to result in significant problems.

March in February, & Another Mild Season: February and Winter 2016-2017 Recap

March 6, 2017 - 4:26pm -- Dave Robinson

Crocuses photo

On many an afternoon this past February, one had to be reminded that, according to the calendar, we were in the midst of a winter month. While there was a modest snowstorm for central and northern areas on the 9th, there were 11 days, including the day prior to the storm, when temperatures equaled or exceeded 60° at one or more New Jersey locations. The average statewide monthly temperature of 40.1° made February 2017 NJ’s mildest since records commenced in 1895. The average was 6.6° above the 1981–2010 mean and 1.0° above the previous record in 1998. In fact, the 2017 average was only 0.7° lower than the mean for March, and would rank as the 54th mildest (69th coolest) March on record. February precipitation (rain and melted snowfall) averaged 1.70”. This was 1.10” below the 30-year mean and ranks as the 11th driest on record. Only the storm on the 9th delivered more than an inch of rain or melted snow to some observing stations around the state.

The Weather Would Not Sit Still: January 2017 Recap

February 6, 2017 - 10:51pm -- Dave Robinson

Rough surf photo

A progressive weather pattern dating back to last fall continued to hold serve across the eastern US in January. This resulted in temperatures swinging between mild and cold levels and unsettled weather systems moving through often enough to bring precipitation levels close to average but, with one notable exception, not staying around too long to wreak havoc. Overall, it was a mild month, with a statewide average temperature of 36.2°, which is 5.5° above the 1981–2010 mean. This ranks as the 12th mildest January since 1895. It is interesting to note that while 10 of New Jersey’s warmest 15 years have occurred since 2000 and 14 of 15 since 1990, Januaries have not as often kicked off these warm years as much as one might imagine. Only 5 of the 15 mildest Januaries over the 123 year record have occurred since 2000 and just 8 of the 15 mildest since 1990.

A Rather Quiet End to the Year: December 2016 Recap and Annual Summary, including the Top 10 Events of 2016

January 4, 2017 - 3:40pm -- Dave Robinson

Snow photo

The atmosphere was in a progressive mode throughout December, which explains why no particular weather feature lingered in NJ or elsewhere across North America for too long. The seemingly day-to-day changes resulted in the statewide mean temperature of 36.4° being just 1.2° above the 1981–2010 normal. This ranks as the 28th mildest December since statewide records commenced in 1895, a far cry from last year’s record mild conditions. Despite there being seven precipitation events, one of which was mainly a carry over from November 30th, the rapid movement of these systems meant that none deposited prodigious totals in NJ. Thus 3.37” fell, which is 0.48” below average. This ranks as the 55th driest December. Monthly statewide snowfall averaged 2.0”. This is 2.1” below the 1981–2010 average and ranks 45th least snowy. The northern seven counties averaged 5.5”, the central six counties averaged 1.8”, and the eight southern counties 0.2”, all below average.

Gradual Seasonal Transition: November 2016 and Fall 2016 Recaps

December 8, 2016 - 1:51pm -- Dave Robinson

Snow photo

Much like the entire fall season, the transition into the cold half of the year was in no great hurry in November. Leaves dropped from ten days to two weeks later than normal, but eventually by the 28th the temperature fell to the freezing mark at West Cape May (Cape May County) and Newark Airport (Essex), these being the last locations in the state to experience their first freeze. A major exception to the slowly-transitioning pattern was the moderate high-elevation snowfall the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Drought conditions continued to be worrisome across the state, even spreading southwards. However, back-to-back heavy rainfall events on the 29th and 30th provided some replenishment to thirsty soils and began adding water to surface reservoirs across central and northern counties. It will be interesting to see if the atmospheric pattern change that delivered the late-month soakings is fleeting or will be longer lasting. Monthly precipitation (rain and melted snow) averaged 2.48” across NJ. This is 1.13” below the 1981–2010 average and is the 43rd driest November since 1895. It is worth noting that most of the National Weather Service stations that go into determining this average report in the morning. Thus the rain that fell later on the 30th is not factored into the monthly average; rather, it will be part of the December total. Snowfall averaged 0.4” for NJ but broken into regions amounted to 1.3” in the north, 0.1” central, and 0” south. The statewide total is average for Novembers between 1981–2010 but 0.7” below the 1894–present average.

A Climatological Potpourri: October 2016 Recap

November 9, 2016 - 2:21pm -- Dave Robinson

oradell reservoir

Season transitional months are often known for the wide swings in daily and weekly weather conditions. October 2016 did not disappoint when it came to exhibiting such variability. Moisture associated with a weakening hurricane to the south contributed to south Jersey’s heaviest rain event. A modest late-month storm brought the first frozen precipitation of the season to northern counties. Record warmth for so late in the season was part of a dry mid-month week. Halloween eve seeing the temperature touch 80° in some locations before a thunder-strewn frontal passage dropped temperatures to more seasonal temperatures for trick or treating.

Summer is Slow to End: September 2016 Recap

October 5, 2016 - 4:25pm -- Dave Robinson

Sunrise photo

Summer warmth continued into September, only beginning to relinquish its grip on the Garden State during the last week of the month. The average statewide monthly temperature of 70.1° was 4.3° above the 1981–2010 mean. This ranks as the 4th warmest September going back to 1895, with five of the eight warmest Septembers occurring since 2005. Seven of the most recent 13 months have ranked in the top 10 for warmth in their respective months.

Monthly rainfall averaged 3.36” across the state, which is 0.69” below average and ranks as the 61st driest of the past 122 Septembers. However, as discussed below, the average this month does not show the wide disparity of rainfall between the northern and southern parts of the state. While concerns for persistent dry conditions continued increasing across most of NJ through mid September, two soakings in the south alleviated worries in this region. Meanwhile, only one event of note produced totals exceeding an inch in much of the north, thus this region remains much too dry. As of the 27th, a good deal of north and central NJ was considered in moderate drought, with the remainder deemed abnormally dry according to the US Drought Monitor. North Jersey remained under a NJ Department of Environmental Protection “drought watch."

Top Ten August for Heat and Dryness, Yet Another Hot Summer in the 2000s: August and Summer 2016 Recaps

September 6, 2016 - 10:40pm -- Dave Robinson

Beach photo

While above-average temperatures persisted from July into August, the precipitation regime did a 180° reversal between months. A 9th warmest July transitioned to a 2nd warmest August across the Garden State, based on records extending back to 1895. The 14th wettest July proved to be a hydrological blessing following the 20th driest June and preceding the 9th driest August. While August ended with most of New Jersey designated as “abnormally dry” and the northeast in “moderate drought” according to the US Drought Monitor, and north Jersey remained under a NJ Department of Environmental Protection “drought watch,” water supplies would have been in far worse shape come late summer had July been dry.

A Return to Hot Julys After a Two-Year Respite; Awfully Wet Too: July 2016 Recap

August 3, 2016 - 5:01pm -- Dave Robinson

Flooding photo

The second half of the 2016 NJ weather and climate year began with plenty to talk about. Maximum temperatures were 90° or higher somewhere in the state on 20 afternoons. This, along with many warm nights, helped boost the mean monthly temperature into the top 10, based on statewide records back to 1895. Yet, remarkably, this was only NJ’s 5th warmest July in the past 11 years. The 77.2° mean was 2.2° above the 1981–2010 average.

On 15 July days an inch or more of rain fell somewhere in NJ. This included eight days with greater than 2” in spots and four days where a few locations exceeded 4”. Statewide, the average rainfall was 6.85”. This was 2.33” above average and ranks as the 14th wettest July since 1895. It was the wettest July since 2004, and the 4th wettest in the past 41 years. The northern half of the state (Mercer/Somerset/Union northward) averaged 7.27” (+2.49”, 14th wettest), while the southern region averaged 6.77” (+2.38”, 12th wettest). This all came in a month where the northern half of the state remained classified as being in moderate drought (D1) on the US Drought Monitor, with about half of south Jersey considered abnormally dry (D0). Also, on July 26th the NJ Department of Environmental Protection placed the northern half of the state in a drought watch. These actions were the result of notable rainfall deficits dating back to the early spring, with the warmth of the month exasperating low soil moisture, stream flow, ground water, and reservoir conditions. Clearly, the late-month heavy rainfall in a good portion of the state warrants a re-evaluation of drought status as NJ heads into August.

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