Isolated tornadoes possible today

     A July 2013 thunderstorm over Ocean Grove, NJ. (Photo: Chris Spiegel/Blue Revision Media Design)

    A July 2013 thunderstorm over Ocean Grove, NJ. (Photo: Chris Spiegel/Blue Revision Media Design)

    Severe thunderstorms are possible later this afternoon into the evening hours, and forecasters are not ruling out the potential for isolated tornadoes. 

    According to the National Weather Service, one or two organized lines of strong to severe storms could possibly move through the region late this afternoon (3 to 6 p.m.) and/or evening (6 to 11 p.m.). Isolated thunderstorms are moving through northeastern Pennsylvania and the northern half of New Jersey late this morning. 

    With the organized activity later today, the Jersey Shore would experience the impact last due to the west to east movement. 

    The primary threats will be damaging winds, deadly and damaging lightning, and heavy rain, but isolated tornadoes and hail are also possible, the service says. 

    The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center places Ocean and Monmouth counties in the “slight risk” category for severe thunderstorm development, meaning short-lived and/or not widespread, with isolated intense storms possible.

    The risk is greater in Atlantic and Cape May counties, which are within the “enhanced risk” category. This means the possibility of numerous severe storms that are “more persistent and/or widespread,” with a few intense. 

    NOAA defines a severe thunderstorm as producing hail at least one of the following: hail at one-inch in diameter, a wind gust of 58 miles per hour or greater, or a tornado.

    The foggy marine layer was responsible for the weakening of storms last Saturday, although some packed gusty winds and lightning. Similar conditions are occurring this morning.

    But in its morning forecast discussion, the local National Weather Service office says its forecasters expect some clearing ahead of the storm line. They say the extent of the severe weather threat depends on how much clearing develops and the extent of atmospheric instability. 

    After the storms pass late this evening, skies will gradually clear overnight, and temperatures will drop down into the 40s. A stiff westerly breeze will develop. 

    Much more seasonable weather is ahead tomorrow, featuring sunny skies and temperatures slightly above normal in the upper 40s. A westerly breeze, gusting possibly up to 40 miles per hour, will make it feel cooler.

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