"Thundersnow" hit parts of New Jersey Saturday as the polar vortex heads our way for a return visit this coming week-- one that could extend into early February.


National Weather Service temperature outlook for January 23 - 29 (NOAA)

The squalls resembled summer thunderstorms with dark skies, brief periods of heavy snow and thunder, moving across central and north Jersey according to reports to the Jersey Shore Hurricane News Facebook page.

There were also reports of lightning in Sea Bright, Leonardo. Monroe and Montclair Saturday. "Was awakened around 8:45 this morning here in Monroe Twp. by one of the loudest rolling thunder claps I've ever heard," wrote one contributor to the page.

Temperatures are expected to reach the 40s through Monday. Discussion by the National Weather Service and their long term forecast, however, indicates a high pressure area will build into the area allowing part of the polar vortex to move south again and lock bitter cold over the state possibly into the beginning of February.

Temperatures are forecast to rise only into the 20s starting Tuesday with gusty winds creating a low wind chill.

"Unlike what we’ve seen for, really, the past two months, this time it looks as though the pattern will keep the cold air enforced,” state climatologist David Robinson tells the Star-Ledger. There is also the potential for snow around Sunday, February 2. “The potential is absolutely there for a significant snowfall, however the odds do not favor it,” Robinson told the newspaper.

The Polar Vortex is defined by the National Weather Service's New York office as a "persistent, large scale upper level cyclone" that is anchored to one or both of the poles. A piece may "break off" and head southward in the jet stream but it's not a low pressure area of something that can be seen like a tornado or clouds.