Saturday, July 07, 2012

Storms Rock Lehigh Valley, Central Jersey

Update, 9 PM:  About 100,000 lost power between the Lehigh Valley and Central Jersey with tonight's storms.  Lots of damage reports so far -- especially across those aforementioned areas plus the Poconos.

Update, 7:50 PM:  The worst of the storms are working off the Jersey coast north of 195...and are crossing through Ocean County and hitting parts of LBI and generally north of Barnegat.  The storm near Wilmington is weakening and probably fizzles out as it moves into South Jersey.  The worst of the storms will pass off of the Jersey coast over the next hour or so.   The portion to Philly's south will push down towards Egg Harbor city and towards the southern end of LBI over the next hour as well, perhaps with some gusty winds.

Update, 7:25 PM:  Storm line is splitting into two main cells as the portion over Philly has weakened.  The eastern cell is heading across I-195 and towards Belmar, Toms River, and the Lakewood area.  The western cell is working down through Chester County towards Wilmington and eventually down through South Jersey.  Millville should keep an eye on this cell over the next couple of hours.

Update, 7 PM:  Line's about to move through Philadelphia -- winds gust to 50 within the batch that will move through the city.  The worst of the line will pass to the city's east and west...Chester into New Castle Counties will get hit pretty hard as will Trenton through the Pinelands to Long Beach Island over the next 90 minutes.

Update, 6:20 PM: Here's the watch...this is out until Midnight for the outlined areas. It would not surprise me if this watch gets dropped in the northern counties after 8:30 once the line clears I-95.

Update, 6 PM: Pretty much everyone in the city, Trenton, and north/west through the Lehigh Valley is under a severe thunderstorm warning until 7 PM. Storm Prediction Center also hinting strongly at issuing a new watch within the next hour, which would include Philadelphia.

After topping out at a nasty 101 degrees, Philadelphia is poised to get some thunderstorms over the next couple of hours.  A line of storms is currently stretched from the Northeast Extension of the Turnpike west to I-81 in Schuylkill County, slipping southeast.  This line will work into Allentown, Reading, and eventually the Philadelphia suburbs over the next hour to 90 minutes...and into Philly between 7 and 7:30 PM.

This line has a history of hail and gusty winds.  Winds were as high as 75 miles per hour in Potter County earlier this afternoon and gusted to 58 at Williamsport during the 4 PM hour.  Hail has been as large as quarter size with the storm as tops on the thunderstorm clouds reach nearly 50,000 feet in the atmosphere.  The severe thunderstorm watch was expanded down to include Bucks and Montco until 7 PM...I have a feeling we'll see a new watch issued in the not-too-distant future for Philly and the rest of the area.

You can follow the discussion on twitter and Facebook over the next few hours...we'll update here as needed.