Extreme Heat, Severe Thunderstorms, What's Next, A Hurricane?! Oh, Wait ...

By Geoff Bansen

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)*** Flash Flood Watch in effect for the Delaware Valley through Friday morning ***

Severe thunderstorms moved through the area last night, with over 10,000 strikes of lightning, some of which caused damage. These storms were triggered by the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing. The heat, coupled with humid conditions, have made it feel almost unbearable outside. We won’t reach 96 today like we did on Wednesday, but with a break in between rounds of showers and storms, some sun will help to once again heat up the atmosphere to near 90 and also set off some more showers and storms this afternoon as a cold front continues to creep closer. These could trigger some flash flooding later on today.

Meanwhile in the tropics, Arthur is now a Category 1 Hurricane. Currently it has sustained winds of 80 mph, and we expect it to strengthen a little more as it tracks up the coast. Although no landfall is expected, the storm will brush dangerously close to the Carolinas. As a result, hurricane watches and warnings have been posted for these coastal regions, including mandatory evacuations in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Even though this system will not directly be impacting the Delaware Valley, some of the effects will be felt on Friday, especially closer to the coast. Although this front is helping to nudge Arthur out to sea, the two will begin to interact with each other later today, so we expect plenty of moisture in the atmosphere through tomorrow morning. Further inland areas can expect morning showers and clouds, with some afternoon clearing. Highs will cool off quite a bit into the lower 80s. Coastal Delaware and New Jersey will be stuck in the rain a little longer, with some breezy conditions and also rough seas and riptides – the latter two which will be remain through the first part of the weekend. However, we are confident that conditions will dry off in time for any firework activities.

Arthur will be long gone by Friday night, and Saturday and Sunday are looking great. Expect lots of sunshine and comfortably warm temperatures that won’t be as hot or humid … mother nature is saving that for next week!

Today In Weather History:
1901 — One of the most severe and disastrous thunderstorms struck Mt. Holly during the evening. Alice, 12-year-old daughter of Job Shinn, was killed instantly by lightning when she stepped outside her home to get a little kitten from the threatening downpour. This was the first lightning death in Mt. Holly that had been recorded for a long time. Many residences and businesses were struck, and other people struck recovered. Trees were splintered to pieces or uprooted. The storm sank a sailboat in the Delaware river off Beverly, drowning 1 of the 2 men.
1936 — The temperature at Philadelphia reached 104 degrees, the highest July reading since official records began in 1870.
1975 — Afternoon thunderstorms over eastern PA produced lightning, hail, wind and heavy rain. Allentown reported a wind gust to 66 mph, with Morrisville, Bucks Co, gusting to over 60 mph. Both were hit with 3/4″ hail.
1987 — Showers and thunderstorms produced heavy rain in NJ, with 5.2″ reported at Trenton.

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