Yes, February is supposed to be cold in the Garden State. But as forecast wind chills fall way below zero this weekend, this cold spell will enter the danger zone.

Here are your weather headlines for Thursday, February 11, 2016:


Current temperatures

Brrrr! A cold front pushed through New Jersey early Thursday morning. Not only did that front carry some light snow showers overnight, it also opened the door to the arctic. Our first of two arctic blasts is here — the next one comes this weekend.

High temperatures on Thursday will reach around 30 degrees. Alone, that kind of cold wouldn't be too bad (although about 10 degrees below normal for mid-February). But wind gusts over 25 mph at times will keep wind chills painful, in the teens for much of the state all day.

Hopefully winds will lighten a bit for Friday, so wind chill will be less of an issue. Highs will be limited to the mid to upper 20s, under mostly to partly cloudy skies.

Forecast models show a storm system sliding just off the coast late Friday through early Saturday morning. I have put a few precautionary snow showers in the forecast for that time frame. Depending how close the winter storm tracks to the Jersey Shore, I suppose light accumulations of snow will be possible (about a half-inch or less).


NAM model forecast 850mb temperatures (about a mile above the surface) shows the coldest air of the season will blast New Jersey this weekend. (Map: College of DuPage Meteorology)

Believe it or not, the weekend gets even colder, as our second (and larger) blast of arctic air arrives on Saturday. Thermometers will peak early in the day on Saturday, in the lower 20s, before plummeting through the afternoon and evening hours.

Sunday will be the bottom of the barrel, temperature-wise. Morning lows will fall to around 0 degrees. But that doesn't even tell the entire story, as sustained winds will be around 20 mph. Wind chills will be outright dangerous, probably ranging from -25 to -15 for Sunday morning. That's cold enough for frostbite and hypothermia to settle in within just 30 minutes. Highs on Sunday will reach the upper teens - not much improvement.

I am happy to say New Jersey will start to warm up on Monday. Southerly winds will spur temperatures to warm into the mid 30s. Still below normal (and still below freezing in North Jersey), but it will be a noticeable recovery.

Wintry Mess?

GFS model forecast for precipitation on Tuesday, showing a fairly strong storm system bringing messy weather to New Jersey. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

The next "big" winter weather chance for New Jersey slides into the forecast in the Monday night to Wednesday morning time frame. Both long-range models, the GFS and the Euro, show this system impacting New Jersey. And things could get messy.

For now, it looks like a wintry mix would move into the Garden State Monday evening. That mix would potentially include snow in North Jersey, ice around Central Jersey, and rain in South Jersey.

During the day on Tuesday, temperatures across the entire state should rise above freezing. So any wintry weather will transition to rain. Some of that rain could be quite heavy.

As the sun sets Tuesday evening and temperatures fall, all-rain will likely transition back to all-snow through early Wednesday morning. Some accumulation is possible.

So confidence is rising that New Jersey will see "something" from this setup, but it's still too early for details on this storm. Especially since there will be lots of questions to answer in as this storm approaches: what time the storm will start, where the rain-ice-snow line ends up, when the wintry mix transitions to rain, how heavy the rain will be, when the rain transitions to snow, how much snow will accumulate, and when the snow will stop.

Whew. We'll keep you posted.

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