flash flooding

Unprecedented: September 2021 Recap

October 11, 2021 - 4:38pm -- Dave Robinson

A flooded TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater (Somerset County) on September 2nd following the staggering rainfall caused by the remnants of Ida. Photo by Thomas P. Costello and Tariq Zehawi/USA Today Network.

Post-tropical storm Ida. The title of this month’s report speaks to this momentous weather extreme that will forever be the defining event of this month and likely the entire year. The storm delivered the most powerful tornado to strike the Garden State since 1990, demolishing multiple homes in Gloucester County. Rainfall exceeding 3.00” per hour led to the most widespread flash flood event on record for the state, resulting in the tragic deaths of 30 individuals in central and northeastern locales. A separate report on Ida has been prepared and may be accessed in the "News" menu.

There were 29 other days of weather this month that fortunately were not as dramatic as Ida on the 1st. All told, monthly precipitation averaged 6.20” across NJ. This was 2.04” above the 1991–2020 normal and ranks as the 15th wettest September since 1895. The north, where the bulk of Ida’s rain fell, averaged 8.92”, which was 4.46” above normal and ranks 7th wettest. The south averaged 4.61”, which was 0.62” above normal and ties as the 31st wettest. Along the coast, only 3.81” fell, some 0.08” below normal and ranking 44th wettest.

Ida Remnants Strike New Jersey

October 6, 2021 - 2:59pm -- Dave Robinson

Photo of flood debris from business establishments on Main Street in Manville on September 7 (photo credit: M. Holzer).

Post tropical storm Ida moved across the Garden State during the afternoon of September 1st into the early hours of the 2nd. It brought with it torrential rainfall, leading to flash and river flooding that took the lives of approximately 30 individuals and the rescue of countless more from raging waters. Additionally, it brought three tornadoes to southwestern and central areas, including the first EF-3 twister to strike New Jersey in 31 years. There were only minor injuries and no deaths from the tornadoes.

Ida developed in the Caribbean, being named a tropical storm on August 26th. From there, it moved northwestward, attaining hurricane status on the 27th as it passed over extreme western Cuba and moved into the Gulf of Mexico. It maintained a steady course as it strengthened into a major category 4 hurricane, making landfall in Louisiana on the 29th with sustained one-minute wind speeds as high as 150 mph. Once inland, winds diminished rather quickly but rainfall associated with the tempest remained heavy as the storm began to curve toward the northeast. This track remained quite steady as the storm weakened to a tropical depression on the 30th and became an extratropical low-pressure system as it approached the central Appalachians. On September 1st, Ida’s remnants merged with an advancing cold front as the system entered the Mid-Atlantic and crossed New Jersey before moving into southeast New England on the 2nd.

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