A strong line of potentially violent thunderstorms is expected to thrash the tri-state area overnight into Thursday as the severe weather spawning tornadoes in the South barrels toward the coast.
The dense fog that swallowed much of the region early Wednesday, creating some airport and other traffic delays, dissipated by late morning, giving way to scattered showers and thunderstorms west of the city.
The front of the severe storm system could reach the city by the evening. The first batch of storms isn't expected to be intense, though downpours could be heavy at times, meteorologists say.
The threat for severe weather increases by the hour going into the overnight hours as potentially dangerous storms with wind gusts of up to 60 mph move into the area.
At this point, forecasters believe the window for the biggest threat is after midnight into the pre-dawn hours on Thursday, though that may change depending on the track of the storm.
Downed trees and scattered power outages are possible overnight as heavy rains dump nearly 2 inches of water on parts of the tri-state amid strong winds. The region continues to thaw from its coldest temperatures since 2007, but the ground remains frozen in places, which means there's no place for the runoff to go. Meteorologists warn the intense downpours could cause pooling on roadways and localized flooding overnight that may affect the commute Thursday morning.
The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday for the five boroughs, Long Island, Ocean, Monmouth, Union, Hudson, Essex and Bergen counties in New Jersey and Connecticut's Fairfield County.
A high wind watch was issued for Sullivan, Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, Westchester and Rockland counties in New York as well as Passaic County in New Jersey.
A flood watch was issued for Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon, Morris, Union, Hudson, Essex, Bergen and Passaic counties in New Jersey, along with Rockland, Westchester, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster and Dutchess counties in New York ahead of the anticipated.
The rain is expected to taper of shortly before sunrise Thursday, though the whipping winds are expected to linger through the morning with gusts of up to 45 mph.
After reaching a high of 60 degrees Wednesday afternoon, temperatures are expected to plunge back into the 40s Thursday. By Thursday evening, forecasters say temperatures will be in the 30s, where they'll stay Friday and through the early part of next week.