Extensive wind damage from Friday Night’s thunderstorms has left hundreds of thousands in the dark across our area with the greatest focus of damage in the southern half of the area. With hot and humid temperatures, this loss of electricity for a long duration is introducing heat dangers and making this a high impact issue. A State of Emergency has been declared for some counties and municipalities. There have also been some fatalities reported. Atlantic City Electric, for example, at the peak, had more individual customers out of power than with Hurricane Irene. 1,900 customers were without power at 1:00 a.m. and that number surged to an incredible 105,000 by 2:00 a.m. It took an estimated 12 hours during Irene to even get past 100,000 for Atlantic City Electric.
In Monmouth County, they are dealing with an issue of another kind. A water emergency is ongoing since last evening. A series of critical water pipes busted when a bridge collapsed. The collapsed bridge was damaged during Hurricane Irene. Numerous communities that rely on water service are without water today, during one of the hotter days of the year. Restrictions on water usage apply to the entire county of Monmouth for those that have water service.
This evening and tonight, more thunderstorms are expected. They may be severe with destructive winds and large hail. There are at least two MCS out to our west that we anticipate will fire up and become more active as daytime heating occurs. One of them will head our way in the near term once it fires up around Western Pennsylvania. Hot and humid air is building ahead of these complexes, providing plenty of heat energy for these storms. Portions of the region are under a slight risk for severe thunderstorms from the Storm Prediction Center. As Tom mentioned earlier, we cannot get a real good idea of these complexes until the actually develop/blossom. Checking the parameters at midday and yesterday was more unstable than yesterday at this time…but there is still sufficient instability for wind and hail issues. The Delmarva is the most favored spot for severe weather, but even areas further to the north may experience some severe thunderstorms.
Another shot for severe weather may occur on Sunday as the stalled frontal boundary is draped across our region. The model guidance has hinted that tomorrow’s action may be a bit further south, but I am not totally sold on that. Another day of excessive heat is also expected. The front may sag a bit to the south later Sunday into Tuesday, but this is a tricky forecast as very hot and very humid air just sits south of the boundary and if it were to be further north in later forecasts…substantial temperature adjustments would become necessary along with the chances for severe thunderstorms being increased.On July 4th, expect hot and humid air with a chance of thunderstorms. During the week, depending on the location of the frontal boundary, there could be a day where we break the “heat wave” with a high temperature of 89 vs. 90…but it is so close at this point.