Santa Claus may have to trade his plush red velvet suit and cap for some heavy duty rain gear on Christmas.
A strong storm combining moderate to heavy rain and wind gusts as high as 65 mph will lash the Jersey Shore on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, according to the National Weather Service.
Rain will start Thursday morning and then intensify in the afternoon and continue overnight through Friday morning. The forecast calls for between 1 and 2 inches of rain, with up to 3 inches in some local areas.
Southerly winds between 30 and 40 mph will blow in on Thursday night. Wind gusts of between 50 and 65 mph are expected at the shore. A High Wind Warning is in effect from 6 p.m. Thursday to 7 a.m. Friday.
Forecasters are warning of the possibility of power outages and damaged trees because of the blustery conditions. Homeowners are urged to secure their holiday decorations before the winds arrive.