Bitter Cold Arrives Tonight
New Jersey will see snow showers with light accumulations, but the real weather story will be the frigid temperatures and fierce winds through the upcoming weekend.
Here are your weather headlines for Thursday, February 12, 2015...
A Little Snow
There are two shots at snow in the short-range forecast, but neither one looks to amount to much.
A weak clipper will push past New Jersey today. We were watching this system to redevelop a bit as it hits the moisture of the Atlantic Ocean, but that looks to happen well east of us. So the snow forecast for today has been downgraded to just scattered showers for most of the daytime hours. With highs in the lower 40s today, South Jersey will likely see rain showers (if anything at all).
The only part of the day I’m concerned about is the afternoon and evening, as we could see a heavier snow squall or two develop. If you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, such a squall could dramatically decrease visibility and cause some slick spots on roads just in time for the evening rush hour.
Light accumulations will be possible, if you happen to see steady snow for an extended period of time. The vast majority of the state will see nothing to a coating. Within those heavier squalls, I could see a quick inch or two of fresh snow accumulating. But such totals would be limited to isolated locations at best.
The next chance for snow will come late Saturday. A little more organized at this point than today’s snow, but I’m still not convinced we’ll see anything more than light intensity snow, with an inch or two of accumulation possible. In any case, the snow will not be the big weather story of the holiday weekend...
A Lot of Cold
Even though Thursday’s clipper system won’t bring us a lot of snow, it will leave the door to the arctic wide open. A strong cold front will start pushing through New Jersey late this afternoon. You’ll know when the front pushes through your neighborhood - a north wind will kick up (15 to 25 mph), and temperatures will start to drop rapidly. Thermometers will drop to the single digits across much of New Jersey by Friday morning. And the wind chill (“feels like” temperature) will be below zero. A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect tonight for part of the state, as wind chills below zero present a dangerous situation for increased risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
During the day on Friday, temperatures will struggle to make it through the teens (maybe 20 degrees in far South Jersey). And with a stiff breeze (10 to 20 mph), the wind chill will still be in effect all day. It will feel like the single digits at best for most of the state. Yuck.
Saturday will bring a brief respite from the bitter cold, as highs make it to about the 30 degree mark statewide. It’s still 10+ degrees below seasonal normals for mid-February, but it’s better than what’s coming for the second half of the weekend...
Even More Arctic Air
Following Saturday’s snow chance, we will get slammed yet again with an arctic cold front. Over the past few model runs, the core of the cold air has actually shifted south and west of New Jersey for Sunday. So it looks like we’ll avoid the “historic, record-breaking cold,” but temperatures will still be downright frigid for both Sunday and Monday.
Sunday’s highs will once again be held to the teens. But a ferocious wind gusting over 30 mph on Sunday will cause utterly brutal wind chills all day long.
Monday morning could be the coldest part of this stretch of arctic weather, with low temperatures around 0. Highs on Monday look to reach only the lower 20s.
Luckily, a slight warmup is on the way for Tuesday and Wednesday. That will put an end to 4+ days of below-freezing temperatures for much of the state.
This is not "regular wintertime cold". This is dangerous cold. No hype or exaggeration here. With wind chills in North Jersey as low as -20, frostbite can affect bare flesh after just 10 minutes of exposure. Be smart about spending any time outside on Friday, Sunday, and Monday. And be sure to make use of heavy coats, hats, and gloves if you do need to be outside for any period of time.