It's the calm before the storm. A cold front passed through the area last night, giving us some much needed rain and clearing out the skies for a gorgeous Friday. This afternoon's high will be near 80 degrees with nary a cloud in the sky. The clear skies should be around for at least part of the day tomorrow but clouds will move in once Tropical Storm Hermine approaches. The thickening clouds and an easterly wind will keep Saturday's high to the mid 70s.
Last night Hermine became the first hurricane in eleven years to make landfall in Florida. (The last one was Hurricane Wilma in 2005.) The storm is over southern Georgia this morning and is expected to weaken while over land today, but then regain some strength as it moves back out to sea, and under an upper level trough, north of the Outer Banks tomorrow.
By late tomorrow Hermine will have lost its tropical characteristics and become a potent extratropical storm over the western Atlantic. What Hermine will do over the latter half of the weekend is still very uncertain. Forecasters are pretty confident that the storm will get lodged in behind an upper level ridge and stay to the southeast of us well into next week. What they aren't confident in is knowing exactly where the storm will be as it meanders about during that time (which is why their forecast map is shaped like a lollipop).
Sunday looks to be a windy, rainy mess for most of the area. Southern New Jersey will be hardest hit with several inches of rain possible from Saturday night through Monday morning. Rainfall should be less than an inch in the city and across Long Island, but it will still be windy with northeasterly breezes at 25-35 mph. Beyond Sunday the National Weather Service throws up its hands and says "tropical storm conditions possible" for Monday and Tuesday. Not to be outdone in uncertainty, the Weather Channels goes with "watching the tropics."
Despite not knowing the exact location of the storm, the strong northeasterly winds for days on end have the potential for causing beach erosion, coastal flooding, large waves and dangerous rip currents from tonight well into next week.