The season’s first hurricane, Hurricane Arthur, is gaining strength off the eastern seaboard. Meteorologist John Cifelli told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that due to Hurricane Arthur, there will be rainfall most of the day on the Fourth of July but it is expected to clear up and the rest of the holiday weekend will be beautiful.
Cifelli said that Arthur has been gaining strength. The hurricane has about 90 miles an hour maximum sustained winds, so it is a very strong Category 1 hurricane bordering on Category 2, said Cifelli. He said that as the hurricane moves along the coast of North Carolina, it might scrape barrier islands and stay just off the coast, but either way there will be a significant impact in New Jersey tomorrow.
When asked how hurricane impacts are measured, Cifelli said that every hurricane is different based on trajectory, strength, the conditions that proceed it and what type of environment it moves into. He said that today, there is a very humid air mass and there will be some thunderstorms across the state, but as far as Arthur goes, the main impact is going to be on surf and some heavy rainfall down the shore. He said that he does not think that there will be too much of a coastal flooding problem but he said there may be some high tides. He said that for the most part there is going to be dangerous surf and rip currents tomorrow and there will be a lot of rainfall down the shore.
He said that beach erosion is always a possibility, depending on how long the effects linger with the storm. He said that the storm will be moving pretty quickly — about 15 to 20 miles per hour by the time that it moves by New Jersey — but how long the surf maintains its strength and how long it really starts to batter the shorelines is always a concern.
Cifelli said that he thinks there is a pretty good grip on the forecast for Hurricane Arthur. He said that there is a fairly persistent upper level trough across Pennsylvania that is steering a cold front that is moving across Pennsylvania to New Jersey tonight and that is going to bring New Jersey a lot of rainfall tonight. By the time Arthur reaches the Garden State, he said the cold front is going to gently steer the hurricane off the coast. He said there is no threat of landfall in New Jersey.
Cifelli said the best bet for afternoon July 4 cookouts and fireworks shows is going to be further west and more toward Philadelphia and less toward New York City. He said that he thinks that there will be some gradual clearance tomorrow by nightfall; it is just a matter of how quickly that clearance is seen as Arthur is steered out to sea.
“I think that the important thing to recognize here is that this [Hurricane Arthur] isn’t a panic situation. This is not Hurricane Sandy part two. So we will see up to an inch of rain tomorrow. We’ll see some moderate winds — 15, 20, maybe some gusts of 30 miles per hour. Any coastal flooding or beach erosion is going to be minor. I think that once we get through the worst of it tomorrow, tomorrow night and definitely the weekend are going to be beautiful, so definitely we can salvage the holiday weekend,” said Cifelli.