The likelihood of a sunny and dry holiday weekend has now decreased due to a potential impact of a system that is currently Tropical Storm Hermine in the Gulf of Mexico.
According to an afternoon forecast from the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, the Jersey Shore could potential see impacts from what remains of the system beginning Saturday although there’s “still lots of uncertainty,” the update states.
“A lot of what happens in this period depends on how close to the coast Tropical Storm Hermine tracks,” it continued.
Hermine became a tropical storm today in the central Gulf of Mexico after holding tropical depression status for days, expected to track into the northwestern Florida Panhandle and then through the southeastern states.
The current National Hurricane Center forecast places Hermine as a “post-tropical” system around Cape May at 2 p.m Sunday, meaning that it now longer will have tropical storm status but can still produce rain, wind, and other impacts.
But New Jersey is within the large “cone of uncertainty,” meaning that the ultimate track currently remains unknown. The current forecast track takes the system mainly along land before entering the Delmarva.
After modeling showed eastward trend of the system last night, modeling has shifted westward throughout the day. That’s exactly why there’s still uncertainty about its ultimate track and therefore impact on the Jersey Shore.
The National Weather Service has increased the chance of cloud cover and rain throughout most of the weekend due to the odds increasing of the system’s track closer to the coast. There’s also a tidal flooding concern, and even if the system doesn’t directly impact the area with heavy rain and winds, a rip current risk is likely over the weekend.
“Just how strong winds get and how much rain falls will still be ironed out in the upcoming forecast updates,” the forecasters wrote.
In a briefing issued late this afternoon, the National Weather Service issued the following forecast confidence levels as of now: rip currents (high), strong winds (low), heavy rain (moderate), and storm surge (low)
Lee Robertson, a meteorologist at the Mount Holly office, said earlier this afternoon that although any potential impacts are days away, it won’t hurt to make preparations.
He said forecasters will have a better handle on the storm after today.