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Significant coastal flooding and gusty winds to continue all weekend

The effects of a coastal storm system and the distant Hurricane Joaquin will lead to some nasty weather and surf this weekend.

Joaquin Moving Northeast

Let’s start with the latest update on Hurricane Joaquin.

The 5 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center for Hurricane Joaquin.
This morning’s “spaghetti plot” of forecast model tracks for Joaquin. All models now keep the storm away from the U.S. East Coast and send it out to sea. (WeatherBell Analytics)

As we hoped, and as we forecast, Joaquin has turned to the northeast and sped up its forward motion. (We are now 100% confident that a US/NJ landfall will not happen!) Additionally, the storm has begun to weaken as it encounters cooler waters. Now a Category 3 hurricane, Joaquin is packing maximum sustained winds of 125 mph. Unfortunately, as the track continues to drift further east, the tiny island of Bermuda is directly in the storm’s path.

Hurricane Joaquin is still a powerful storm, and continues to churn up the entire Atlantic Ocean. Despite Joaquin’s distance from the shoreline, significant impacts will occur this weekend up and down the U.S. East Coast.

Coastal Flooding

The internet was buzzing yesterday with some incredibly dramatic photos of an angry ocean and coastal flooding, especially in South Jersey.

READ: Heavy flooding hits NJ, even with Joaquin turning away

Huge waves breaking at Bradley Beach, N.J. on Friday. (Photo Bud McCormick)

This flooding is expected to reoccur throughout this weekend. The level of tidal water rise of each high tide cycle will likely be similar to that on Friday.

A Coastal Flood Warning is in effect for the entire Jersey Shore through Sunday night (at least), with moderate to major coastal flooding expected. According to the National Weather Service, “a building surge… combined with 6 to 10 foot breaking waves… will contribute to the tidal inundation flooding.”

As expected, the surge/swell has pushed tides to about 2-3 higher than normal, measured at the low point of the tide cycle. The graph below shows the last day or so of tides at Atlantic City. Compare the valleys of the red (preliminary observed) line to the MLLW mark on the right side – they are consistently about 2 feet higher than normal at this location.

Tide graph for Atlantic City, N.J. showing a significant rise in tides since Friday. (NOAA/NOS/COOPS)

In addition to the oceans and the bays, minor to moderate tidal flooding is expected throughout the weekend along the Delaware River. Water rise could occur as far north as Mercer County.

Due to the flooding threat and potential inland inundation, road closures, beach erosion, and unfortunately some property damage is likely through at least Sunday.

READ: Power, Traffic, Closings, and More

High Tides

As mentioned above, the worst coastal flooding will occur at the times of high tide, approximately twice a day, every 12-13 hours or so.

So when is high tide this weekend? Here is an overview through the rest of the weekend, according to Tides4Fishing.com

Sandy Hook: Saturday 12:49pm… Sunday 1:24am… Sunday 1:46pm… Monday 2:22am

Seaside Heights: Saturday 12:19pm… Sunday 12:54am… Sunday 1:16pm… Monday 1:52am

Atlantic City: Saturday 12:24pm… Sunday 1:01am… Sunday 1:27pm… Monday 2:08am

High tide on the back bays and along the Raritan Bay will peak about an hour later than along the ocean.

It takes several hours for the high tide cycle to travel up the Delaware River. High tide along the Delaware generally occurs 3-4 hours later than on the ocean.

Other Bad Weather

RAIN: After a drenching and uncomfortably cool rain all day Friday, the wet weather will slowly subside this weekend. The majority of the state ended up with 1 to 3 inches of rain – certainly good for the drought situation, but the runoff has exacerbated the coastal flooding issue. Widely scattered showers are in the forecast for both Saturday and Sunday, but anything that falls from now on should be on the light side.

Current weather radar

WIND: Meanwhile, the wind will stay gusty on Saturday. For inland New Jersey, expect sustained northeasterly winds of 15 to 25 mph, with occasional gusts to about 40 mph. Along the coastal, sustained wind will hover around 20 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph.

Downed trees and power lines are a definite possibility, especially given our thoroughly soaked ground. (We’ve already seen reports of scattered power outages, especially along New Jersey’s south coast.) In addition, high-profile vehicles such as trucks, buses, and vans may have some difficulty driving when a particularly strongest gust blows.

Winds are expected to subside a little bit on Sunday. As Joaquin moves further and further away on Monday, winds will really start to decrease late in the day.

VISIT: New Jersey 101.5 Weather Center

So the weather and surf are just going to be disgusting all weekend, even though Joaquin is completely missing New Jersey. Please be smart and be safe!

Dan Zarrow is the Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter for your latest forecast.

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