Snow and Roses? Were You Dreaming of a White Valentine’s Day?
The combination of cold temperatures and an incoming clipper system will lead to accumulating snow and other nasty wintry weather for most of New Jersey this Valentine's Day afternoon and evening.
New Jersey has some nasty, wintry weather ahead for the next couple of days. Today we'll see some snow. Tomorrow the extreme cold returns. In between the wind will pick up dramatically, creating both a concern for blowing snow and for dangerous wind chills on Monday.
- First flakes around Noon Saturday. Light snow to start.
- Snow intensity will pick up to moderate/heavy in the evening hours (5pm-10pm).
- Snow tapers off considerably by around 5 a.m.
- Lingering snow showers through early Sunday morning (especially in South Jersey).
Hopeless romantics, since the peak of this snowstorm will be right around the time of Valentine’s Day dinner, you might consider enjoying a quiet dinner at home instead of going out. If a bit of snow won’t stop you from making that dinner reservation, at least take a peak at the radar before you go!
Most of New Jersey is expected to see plowable snow from this storm (over 2 inches). As of 3 p.m. Saturday, it looks like the entire state will be prone to seeing 2 to 4 inches by Sunday morning. The heaviest snow squalls now look to be setting up in South Jersey tonight. So expect some higher amounts (up to 6 inches) south of I-195, where there has been a relative dearth of snowfall this season.
After the snow is done, another arctic front will pass through New Jersey late Saturday night into Sunday morning. Not only will this air mass feature THE coldest air of the season so far (see below), but the northerly winds that accompany it will be quite strong. Sustained winds over 30 mph and wind gusts in excess of 40 mph are likely tonight. These strong winds will have three potentially significant impacts:
- Blowing Snow: The fresh snow will blow around in the gusty winds. That will keep visibilities low and driving conditions hazardous.
- Wind Chills: Already chilly temperatures will become even colder overnight. The combination of arctic cold and gusty winds is never a good one. Wind chills will almost certainly fall below zero, making it downright painful to be outside. Remember, when wind chills drop well below zero, we call it dangerous cold because frostbite and hypothermia can affect bare, exposed skin in just minutes.
- Damaging Winds: Generally, we don't start to worry about wind damage until gusts are over 60 mph... but we'll be incredibly close to that mark. Downed trees, tree branches, and power lines are a possibility. Any lawn furniture, sleds, or other outdoor paraphernalia are subject to blow over and/or blow out.
Despite a brief respite from the extreme cold on Saturday (with highs in the 30s), the impending arctic front will bring even colder temperatures and even stronger winds by Sunday morning. With high temperatures between 14° and 20°, sustained winds of 30+ mph all day, and 40+ mph wind gusts, wind chills will likely remain on either side of 0° all day long. As I mentioned above, that is the very definition of extreme cold.
As winds die down and skies clear Sunday night, we’ll see near-record temperatures for President’s Day Monday. Low temperatures will drop to about 0°. Record lows for Monday are 3° at Atlantic City (set in 1888), 1° at Trenton (set in 1888), and -1° at Newark (set in 1904). I'm glad schools are already out of session for the holiday, or else we'd see a lot of delays and closings due to extreme cold.
If that’s not enough, here’s one more important (and frigid) note. Even though Tuesday and Wednesday will feature a slight warmup, temperatures still look to stay below freezing for the foreseeable future (at least a week)... I’ve said it already, and I’ll say it again... Winter 2014-15 will be remembered for this prolonged spell of cold, active winter weather.