How Cold Will it Get in New Jersey This Weekend?
Dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills are expected throughout New Jersey over the Valentine's Day and President's Day Weekend.
Cold Weather Commentary
Several of our listeners took to social media on Thursday to criticize my use of the term "dangerous" to describe this weekend's impending cold.
To be clear, I do not use the phrases "dangerous cold" or "extreme cold" lightly. Unfortunately, emergency rooms across New Jersey will be filled this weekend by people who do not take the frigid temperatures seriously. This isn't just "winter in New Jersey" or "typical February weather". Near-record temperatures will be around 25 degrees below normal. Frostbite and hypothermia are definite concerns.
The big problem is not just how low thermometers will read, but also how fierce the wind chill will be. I often call wind chill the "feels like temperature" or "apparent temperature". Technically, the wind chill is an indicator of body heat loss, especially on exposed skin. It is the combination of cold air and fierce wind that makes this arctic air mass painful, bitter, brutal, and dangerous.
How Cold Will It Get?
Here's a day-by-day overview of what to expect across New Jersey during this extreme cold snap:
Friday will feature increasing clouds and lighter winds than Thursday, about 10 to 15 mph.
--Afternoon highs 23 to 29
--Afternoon wind chills 10 to 20
Friday night could bring some snow showers, with light accumulations of a coating to a half-inch. We'll pick up a stiff breeze of 10 to 20 mph.
--Overnight lows 11 to 18
--Overnight wind chills -8 to 7
Saturday will start with another arctic cold front, pushing temperatures further downward and introducing a very gusty wind. Northwesterly sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph are expected, with gusts as high as 40 or 50 mph. Skies will be partly sunny.
--Daytime highs 16 to 22 (early in the day, with afternoon temps falling through the teens)
--Daytime wind chills -4 to 7
Sunday morning will be rock bottom for this streak of cold weather. Wind speeds should be a bit lighter than during the day Saturday, but still fierce and downright dangerous at 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 45 mph.
--Morning lows -6 to 3
--Morning wind chills -30 to -15
Sunday temperatures won't improve much, despite mostly sunny skies. Winds will decrease only slightly, sustained at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 40 mph.
--Afternoon highs 11 to 19
--Afternoon wind chills -8 to 8
By President's Day Monday, temperatures will moderate a bit, climbing to the mid to upper 30s by the afternoon. That will feel balmy compared to the rest of the holiday weekend!
Beyond the Chill
We are watching our next significant storm system for the Monday night to Tuesday time frame. At this time, the center of this low pressure is forecast to track right over New Jersey on Tuesday afternoon. Such a track would actually cause temperatures to be pretty warm on Tuesday, with widespread 50s possible. So, as it stands now, this system would mostly be a rainmaker. I am concerned about some snow and freezing rain as the storm arrives Monday evening. And there's a chance for a bit more snow at the very tail end of this system on Tuesday night.
Snow accumulations are expected to be meager at best, currently modeled to stay below 2 inches. Ice accretion and heavy rain could ultimately be the bigger concerns through this storm. We will, of course, continue to monitor this forecast through the weekend.