By Geoff Bansen

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Yesterday’s high of 79 is normal… for mid September! That will be the case once again today, expect highs to top out right near there. What won’t be similar to yesterday is pretty much everything else. Clouds will thicken this morning, and rain is expected after lunchtime.

Off to the west sits a slow-moving cold front, with a large swath of rain. As this front meanders our way, it will spell rain and even some thunderstorms for much of the region. A breeze will also pick up this afternoon.

The rain and storms will last, on and off, through early Thursday morning. Leftover showers and clouds will eventually give way to brightening skies by Thursday afternoon. This will mark the beginning of a dry weekend. Cooler temperatures will eventually catch up with us Saturday into Sunday, but that won’t inhibit the sunshine.

It’s halfway through October! So far this month, temperatures have been slightly (1.2 degrees) above average. The warmest daytime high has been 79, set just yesterday on the 14th. The coolest daytime low was a chilly 43 on the morning of the 5th. As for rainfall, it has been on the dry side, .41″ below normal. That might easily change later today!

Today’s Highs:

Philly – 78

Shore – 76

Poconos – 70

On this date in weather history…

1954 – Hurricane Hazel struck the Carolina coastline then moved directly N as a tropical storm through central VA/PA. The hurricane demolished every pier along a 170 mile stretch from Myrtle Beach SC to Cedar Island NC, and obliterated entire lines of beach homes. Hazel also destroyed 1500 homes as it moved inland with 17′ tides.

Winds between Myrtle Beach SC and Cape Fear NC gusted to 150 mph. The hurricane caused 163 million dollars damage, and claimed the lives of between 600 and 1200 persons from the Caribbean to Canada, making it onto the list of deadliest Atlantic tropical cyclones, 1492 to Present. Winds gusted to 72 mph at Atlantic City from the SE, 81 mph at Allentown, and 94 mph from the S at Philadelphia, the 2nd highest wind gust ever measured for October of any year. Winds there were sustained at 73 mph/S.

Other measured wind gusts were 79 mph/SE at Baltimore, 85 mph/SE at Washington DC, 75 mph/S at the Delaware Breakwater, 78 mph/SE at Reading, PA, and 125 mph/SE at NYC, all gusts the strongest winds measured at those places in 1954. Because it was such a fast-moving storm, it was mainly a wind event in Philadelphia, which recorded only 0.63″ of rain.

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