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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
South Harrison, NJ 92
West Deptford, NJ 92
Upper Deerfield, NJ 92
Berkeley Twp., NJ 91
Vineland, NJ 91
City, State Temp
High Point Monument, NJ 78
Stewartsville, NJ 78
Charlotteburg, NJ 81
High Point, NJ 81
Sea Girt, NJ 81
most current information as of Aug 21 4:02 PM

Latest Conditions & Forecast

New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers University Meteorology Program

89°F

Wind

7 mph from the SSW

Wind Gust

9 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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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

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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

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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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