Here’s how much rain soaked all 21 N.J. counties in August
August 2018 turned out to be one of the wettest Augusts ever recorded in New Jersey, according to rainfall statistics. (Photo by Ashley Oblinger via AP)
By Len Melisurgo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Even though New Jersey had a nice reprieve from all of the rain, with a long string of dry days during the recent heat wave, August 2018 turned out to be one of the wettest months on record in northern New Jersey and a fairly wet one in South Jersey.
Final numbers are still being crunched, but New Jersey State Climatologist David Robinson said August could be the 10th wettest one ever recorded in the state’s northern counties since detailed records started being kept in 1895. And that’s with no tropical storms or hurricanes hitting us.
If you average out the rainfall totals from all 21 counties, New Jersey will likely end up with its 25th wettest August on record, or close to that, said Robinson, whose office is based at Rutgers University.
Torrential downpours and waterspouts
Regardless of where it ranks, August 2018 was full of notable weather events and statistics. Among them:
- Four towns in four different counties were saturated with 12 inches or more of rain during the month, which is almost three times as much rain as normal. (County by county stats can be found in the graphics below.)
- A slow-moving cluster of thunderstorms on Aug. 13 dumped 5 to 8 inches of rain on Brick, Howell and Lakewood, causing massive flooding on streets and in dozens of houses. Just two days earlier, torrential rain caused widespread flooding in Bergen, Essex and Passaic counties.
- Another slow-moving storm cell dropped 3 to 5 inches of rain on parts of Burlington County during a two-hour period on Friday, Aug. 31. That region of the state normally gets about 4.1 inches of rain during the entire month.
- August 2018 was not only very wet, but it was very hot. In fact, it could turn out to be the hottest August ever recorded in New Jersey, according to Robinson. He expects to have his data finalized shortly after Labor Day.
- Many parts of northern New Jersey, including the Newark region, had three separate heat waves during the month of August, one lasting six days and two lasting four days each. Nearly half of all the days in August 2018 had temperatures rising as high as 90 degrees or hotter.
Reasons for the hot, wet summer
Why has this summer felt unbearably hot and wet? Robinson attributes it to two dominating weather patterns — one that was persistent in late June and the first half of July, then again during much of the past two weeks. That was a hot and mainly dry pattern resulting from New Jersey being under a large ridge of high pressure, Robinson noted.
The other weather pattern was a “moist, warm southerly flow regime” with a dome of high pressure off shore and a low-pressure system to our west, Robinson said. The high generates a clockwise flow of air, and the low has a counter-clockwise flow, with each of those systems pushing tropical air up from the south and up the Atlantic coast.
That was the pesky weather pattern that plagued the New Jersey region with very hot and humid conditions during the last half of July and the first half of August.
“The ‘door’ has rarely been open to incursions of cooler, dry air since mid-June, with the exception of late last week,” Robinson noted.
The Monmouth County town of Howell was one of the hardest-hit places during a series of strong thunderstorms on Aug. 13. (Photo courtesy of Howell Police Department)
Rainfall totals in all 21 counties
How much rain fell in your area in August? Here’s a look at the top rainfall totals reported in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties.
Most of these rain measurements were compiled by the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, known as CoCoRaHS, a volunteer network of trained weather observers overseen by Robinson’s office at Rutgers. Some numbers are from the New Jersey Weather & Climate Network, also based at Rutgers, and some are from the National Weather Service offices in Mount Holly and Upton, N.Y.
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