Significant Coastal Flooding and More Beneficial Rainfall

November 7, 2022 // Article by: Steven Weinstein

The month of October saw many weather systems which continued to produce beneficial rainfall across most of the Northeast, helping to further alleviate any remaining drought conditions across most of New England, NJ, and Eastern PA. However, there were also plenty of drier stretches which featured rather comfortable temperatures and bountiful sunshine. From a temperature standpoint, October finished quite seasonable with most locations seeing their first frosts and freezes during the middle to latter part of the month, thereby ending the growing season for many.

As we flipped the calendar to October, the first week of the month began on a rather wet and dreary note, with many locations socked with clouds and below average temperatures for several days as the remnants of Ian moved up the East Coast and eventually stalled, giving way to a nearly stationary coastal disturbance. Damaging winds, significant coastal flooding across the NJ and Long Island shores, and heavy rainfall were especially notable during this timeframe. JFK airport broke its daily record minimum high temperature at 52 degrees, breaking an old record of 53 degrees set in 1974, while Newark tied its old record of 52 degrees set in 1974. Further southwest, many daily minimum high temperatures were also broken around the nation's capital. This system also brought a ton of rainfall with much of NJ and eastern PA the hardest hit, with widespread amounts of 2-5" fell over several days. However, flooding problems were most notable across portions of southern NJ where locally 6-7"+ of rainfall fell during this stretch! To add insult to injury, this was accompanied by max wind gusts of 60 - 65 mph and significant coastal flooding across much of the Jersey and Long Island shores owing to a persistent onshore flow as the coastal disturbance sat offshore. Consequently, high tides ran 2-3 feet above normal during this time, inundating some coastal communities such as across Long Beach Island.

Tweet showing moderate stage coastal flooding which occurred in Surf City, NJ on October 3rd, 2022.

Record daily minimum high temps around Washington D.C. that occurred on October 4th, 2022. Source: NWS Baltimore-Washington

Sunshine and quieter weather finally returned on the 6th as high pressure built back in across the Northeast. In addition, this was also briefly marked by the return of unseasonable warmth as many locations set daily record highs on the 7th with temperatures rising into the upper 70s to around 80 degrees.  A quieter stretch of weather then persisted into the middle part of the month before a strong cold front brought the next bout of unsettled weather on the 13th and 14th. In addition to localized heavy rainfall amounts of 2"+ and poor drainage flooding, this system also produced localized wind damage with trees and power lines downed across Southeast NH. This was quickly followed up by another cold front on the 17th which brought widespread rainfall to much of the east coast. Some stronger storms also occurred across the Richmond and Hampton Roads regions, where there were scattered reports of quarter sized hail.

Far more seasonable temps and much colder nights then settled in for the last few weeks of the month as the vibrant and picturesque displays of fall foliage peaked across the Northeast. One final stretch of rather gloomy and rainy weather then took a hold on the 24th - 26th, and while much of this activity was rather light and drizzly, heavier swaths of 2"+ of rainfall did occur on the 24th across portions of Southern NJ and Central CT. Pleasant and rather sunny weather then settled back in to close out the month before a Halloween Day system brought some lighter rainfall to parts of VA and MD.

Vibrant fall foliage as seen across the Hudson Valley during the end of October. Source: NWS New York

Overall, the month generally finished near to even slightly below average for high and low temperatures. Portions of the Mid-Atlantic, including from Washington D.C. and points southward, actually finished the month in a precipitation deficit once again with 1-1.5" below the normal monthly rainfall. Conversely, much of MD, DE, NJ, PA, and New England were again well above normal for the month with many places experiencing rainfall surpluses of 0.5 - 2". However, the jackpot for rainfall occurred across Southeastern NJ with Atlantic City finishing out October more than 3.5" above the normal monthly precip, and other surrounding regions even seeing an impressive 4-7" above the 30-day normal! All this rain vastly improved the 30 and 60 day rainfall deficits across much of the region, and all but eliminated the majority of the prior drought conditions across portions of Eastern PA, NJ, and New England. However, there were still a few spots in the Hudson Valley and across extreme Northeastern MA that remained in a moderate drought by the end of October.