Summer will feel far away this weekend, as a slow-moving low-pressure system combines with a high-pressure system to bring strong onshore winds, days of tidal flooding and heavy rain for Mother’s Day weekend and beyond. Here’s what to know.
Summary of events
Rain will begin Friday afternoon and not end until Mother’s Day morning. The heaviest rain will be Friday and Saturday evenings. A strong southeast wind will develop late Friday, turning to the northeast Saturday. Winds will be heaviest Saturday and Sunday but will stay strong until Wednesday. Any high tide between Sunday and Wednesday could result in flooding.
Rain will begin between noon and 2 p.m., generally from west to east across the area. It will intensify through the afternoon, with a solid, soaking rain Friday evening. After midnight or so, rain will turn scattered, but scattered periods of wet weather will last all Saturday long. It will effectively be a washout.
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Heavier rain will develop Saturday evening on the north side of a warm front. Light rain will fall all night long. Rain will turn into scattered showers Sunday morning. Low pressure will shift to the southeast of us, which should end rain in most places by midday. However, I wouldn’t rule out a shore shower into the afternoon.
Generally, between 1.25 and 2 inches of rain will fall. The heaviest rain will be north of the White Horse Pike, the lightest in Cape May County.
Isolated power outages and wind damage will occur Saturday into Sunday. However, for most people, most of the time, the howling wind will just be a nuisance.
Winds will be from the southeast Friday. By Saturday, they will turn to the east and then the northeast Sunday. That northeast wind will last until Wednesday, perhaps longer.
Tie down loose objects. If the rain wasn’t enough reason to cancel outdoor plans, the winds will be. Sustained winds will be 20 to 30 mph Saturday into Sunday, highest at the shore. Shore gusts will top 50 mph at times, enough to cause problems. Inland, it should top out around 45 mph.
For Monday into Wednesday, it will be more of a typical breezy day. Sustained winds will be 15 to 20 mph, and gusts will be in the 30s.
I’ll start by saying this: It could be worse. It helps that we’re around the quarter moon, which brings astronomically lower tides. Furthermore, winds will be from the northeast Sunday through Wednesday. That’s favorable for coastal flooding, but not as much as easterly or southeasterly winds.
With that out of the way, the hour or two surrounding high tide will be flooded for the majority of crests between Sunday and Wednesday. This could extend into a third hour on each side when it’s in moderate flood stage.
Right now, it looks like the highest tides will be during Sunday and Monday mornings. This will be in moderate flood stage, which can flood unraised homes and businesses with up to 12 inches of water on normally dry ground. Furthermore, it will bring salt water to places that do not typically see it.
Sunday and Monday afternoons will likely be in minor flood stage. This will bring up to 6 inches of salt water on normally dry ground.
Following that, the combination of the low-pressure system moving away and weaker winds will likely yield minor flood stage during the nighttime high tides.
Please do not drive through the flooded salt water, it will corrode your car. It’s also a great example that rainfall does not mean coastal flooding. It will be dry for the second half of Sunday into the week.
It’ll be chilly. If you remember Memorial Day Friday night through Sunday 2021, this will be a repeat with the cold air, wind, rain and tidal flooding.
High temperatures at the coast will be in the 50s Friday through at least Tuesday. The coolest day will be Sunday, which will struggle above 50 degrees.
Inland won’t be much better. However, we should get to 60 on Tuesday and then rise into the 60s for Wednesday.
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