Soaked!

For weeks now, we have been constantly cautioning of spiraling drought conditions, high wildfire danger, and elevated pollen levels.

After a pair of storm systems and three days of persistent rain, we can put those concerns to rest for a while.

What a soggy, stormy weekend. The wet weather was unfortunate for outdoor activities. (Or maybe fortunate if you didn't really want to attend that sports practice, party, etc.) But a good soak was just what the "Drought Doctor" ordered, after an unusually dry February, March, and first 27 days of April.

There were flooding issues, especially Sunday, as heavy rain poured over saturated soil. Some coastal flooding was noted along back bays. We had a few wind gusts over 50 mph. But as expected, the threat for "severe" weather (wind, hail, tornado) stayed well south of New Jersey.

As we collect the final 72-hour rainfall data now, the sun is shining on Monday morning. However, we do have more raindrops, unsettled weather, and unseasonably cool temperatures in the forecast.

Extremes / Statistics

The top rainfall total I could find in New Jersey was 7.03" at Berkeley Township, Ocean County.

Every county in the state had at least one rainfall report over three inches. Statewide average rainfall was around four inches.

The driest corner of New Jersey this weekend was the western edge of the state, falling out of the heaviest rain bands. Both Salem and Warren counties saw rainfall totals in the 2-3" range, rather than half-a-foot.

The state's top wind gust was 62 mph, recorded at Little Egg Harbor Township on Saturday.

Context

This was an incredible amount of rain. Especially considering it did not come as a result of a tropical storm or a deep pool of high humidity. The one-two punch of broad, strong storm systems was sufficient.

The weather station at Newark Liberty International Airport (which is technically in Elizabeth, Union County) picked up 5.72" of rain. One of the top performers in the state. That 3-day rainfall was more than EWR saw in the entire month of March and first 27 days of April, combined. Normal rainfall for the month of April is 3.87".

In other words... More than a month's worth of rain in one weekend. (Well, less than 72 hours.)

Solid rain stretched from Florida to Maine this weekend, with some of the heaviest rain falling right over New Jersey. (Accuweather)
Solid rain stretched from Florida to Maine this weekend, with some of the heaviest rain falling right over New Jersey. (Accuweather)
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Another way to think about extreme precipitation events is in terms of storm recurrence. This relates to some heavy-duty statistics used in engineering and design work. The state maximum 3-day total of 7.03" in Berkeley Township exceeds the 10-year storm estimate for that point, according to NOAA Atlas 14. In other words, there is less than a 10% annual chance of exceeding that amount of rain over the course of three calendar days. Again, most impressive.

What If It Were Snow?

I am asked this question every time it rains a lot. And the simple answer is to multiply total rainfall by 10, as the average snow-to-liquid ratio is 10:1. So 6" of rain would equal about 60" of snow. Yikes.

However, such a comparison is not really accurate or applicable. The heavy rain was driven by "warm cloud" processes — such heavy precipitation would never occur in the kind of drier, colder air mass required for a winter storm.

If temperatures were 30 degrees colder? Sure, it could have been an incredible one-two punch of blizzard conditions. But not 5 feet of snow.

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A Note on Rainfall Totals

I have compiled a "Top 5" rainfall totals for each of New Jersey's 21 counties, listed below. These represent totals over three days: Friday 4/28, Saturday 4/29, and Sunday 4/30. Data was pulled from the New Jersey Weather Network at Rutgers, CoCoRaHS, the CO-OP network of first-order weather stations, and Public Information Statements issued by the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly, NJ and Upton, NY.

These totals were current as of 7:30 a.m. Monday. They should be considered preliminary, unverified and unofficial.

Atlantic County

4.82"... Hamilton Twp
4.70"... Hammonton
4.62"... Egg Harbor Twp (Atlantic City International Airport)
4.59"... Galloway Twp
4.48"... Brigantine

Bergen County

6.61"... Fair Lawn
6.28"... Lyndhurst
5.33"... Tenafly
4.51"... Ramsey
4.29"... New Milford

Burlington County

5.30"... Evesham
4.97"... Medford
4.93"... Hainesport
4.87"... Lumberton (South Jersey Regional Airport)
4.87"... Mt Laurel

Camden County

4.98"... Sicklerville
3.95"... Winslow Twp
3.81"... Mount Ephraim
3.60"... Barrington
3.35"... Cherry Hill

Cape May County

5.64"... Woodbine
5.48"... Dennis Twp
4.68"... Lower Twp
4.06"... Middle Twp
3.52"... Ocean City

Cumberland County

6.11"... Fortescue
5.89"... Millville (Airport)
5.33"... Deerfield Twp
5.32"... Vineland
4.64"... Maurice River Twp

Essex County

5.05"... Newark
4.08"... Caldwell (Airport)
3.94"... West Orange
3.39"... Montclair
3.19"... Fairfield

Gloucester County

5.26"... Franklin Twp
5.12"... Monroe Twp
5.08"... Piney Hollow
4.69"... Glassboro
4.60"... Sewell

Hudson County

5.63"... Harrison
5.36"... Jersey City
4.74"... Weehawken
4.44"... Hoboken
3.57"... Bayonne

Hunterdon County

4.23"... Franklin Twp
4.21"... Pittstown
3.82"... Flemington
3.76"... Lebanon
3.68"... Kingwood

Mercer County

3.80"... Ewing
3.78"... Hopewell Twp
3.77"... Hamilton
3.58"... Pennington
3.28"... Ewing (Airport)
2.51"... Trenton

Middlesex County

5.16"... Woodbridge
4.46"... Old Bridge
4.06"... Metuchen
3.63"... New Brunswick
3.45"... North Brunswick

Monmouth County

6.29"... Oceanport
6.08"... Howell
6.02"... Ocean Twp
5.32"... Middletown
5.30"... Long Branch

Morris County

5.20"... Chatham
4.93"... Parsippany
4.87"... Morris Twp
4.75"... Madison
4.68"... Denville

Ocean County

7.03"... Berkeley Twp
6.18"... Toms River
6.08"... Pine Beach
5.53"... Manchester
5.52"... Cedar Bridge

Passaic County

5.59"... Little Falls
5.23"... Hawthorne
4.99"... North Haledon
4.66"... Charlotteburg
4.58"... West Milford

Salem County

3.72"... Mannington Twp
3.12"... Lower Alloways Creek
2.23"... Woodstown
1.10"... Pennsville
Note: only four rainfall reports were received in Salem County

Somerset County

4.53"... Basking Ridge
4.45"... Watchung
4.00"... Bernards Twp
3.69"... Blackwells Mills
3.55"... Hillsborough

Sussex County

3.93"... High Point
3.71"... Wantage
3.19"... Sandyston
2.76"... Walpack
2.75"... Vernon

Union County

6.10"... Westfield
5.72"... Elizabeth (Newark Liberty International Airport)
5.58"... Clark
3.23"... Springfield
3.00"... Mountainside

Warren County

3.17"... Washington Twp
3.09"... Hackettstown
3.06"... Greenwich Twp
2.81"... Phillipsburg
2.67"... Stewartsville

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow Dan on Facebook or Twitter for your latest weather forecast updates.

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