Dorian Storm Prep Cape May

Cape May lifeguards Ali Lummis (left) and Madi Sehn, watch over a nearly empty beach at Philadelphia Ave. Swimming was not allowed because of 18 mph winds and strong rip currents as the resort was beginning to feel the effects of Hurricane Dorian. Concessions along the beaches in Cape May, were still open but were also busy securing shelters, chairs and umbrellas in preparations for possible strong winds and rains from Hurricane Dorian moving up the coast. Thursday Sept. 5, 2019. Dale Gerhard | For The Press

Thursday will be the slow decline in conditions before Hurricane Dorian makes its closest approach to New Jersey on Friday.

A northeast wind will blow now that our cold front is out to sea. That will stunt temperature growth for the day. Highs in the mid-70s will be the deal, with a damp feel in the air. Seasonable, yes, and good for outdoor work and exercise, but it’ll feel like summer came and went.

Mid- to high-level clouds from Hurricane Dorian will be present throughout the day. As it approaches closer, it’ll turn darker and darker out. No rain will be expected though, and winds will remain light.

The clouds will continue to thicken Thursday evening, and winds will begin to pick up. Dorian will hug the Carolinas and begin its path well out to sea. Here’s what we know.

Winds will be strong out of the northeast, especially along the coast. Sustained winds of 25-35 mph will be likely east of the parkway. Gusts will be 35-45 mph, with readings around 50 mph likely near Cape May, where Dorian passes about 175-225 miles offshore late Friday. That’s typical of a moderate sized nor’easter for us. Lawn furniture and loose objects should be taken inside Thursday. Small tree branches likely will be broken, and power outages are a possibility.

We’ll call it a windy day west of the parkway. Sustained winds of 15-25 mph with gusts in the 30s will be likely. No damage will be expected.

Waves will build to about 9-10 feet out in the Atlantic and continue until Saturday afternoon. Waves don’t completely settle down until Sunday. A high risk of rip currents will be present. Especially with many beaches unguarded, do not go in the waters without the presence of a lifeguard. Besides the point, it won’t be a nice day. The water can wait.

The beaches, which already saw some beach erosion due to persistent northeast winds at the end of the August, is slated to see more. Thankfully, due to the quick moving nature of the storm (by the time it nears South Jersey), it should be kept to minimal impacts. 

Between the Friday daytime and Saturday daytime high tides, coastal flooding will be likely, with the higher tides on Saturday afternoon. Fortunately, only nuisance flooding if expected. Or, where the “typical” places see water. The first block or two of bayside roads can see this. Do not drive through the flooded waters.

Finally, the rain. This is where my confidence is the lowest. Cape May County and the shore definitely get rain, which should start after 3 a.m. However, how much and how far inland, remains to be seen. Everyone should pack the rain gear, but if you’re in Hammonton or Upper Deerfield, you might not need it.

Regardless, rainfall totals likely stay under an inch, which wouldn’t cause much more than spotty roadway flooding. The potential for rain ends early Saturday morning.

Afterwards, the weekend is looking great for the outdoors.

The winds and clouds will leave on Saturday morning. High pressure will be in play as Dorian goes away. Highs will be in the mid- to upper 70s both days with a good amount of sun. The mornings will start out comfortably.

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