Up to 6 Inches of Snow Accumulation for NJ Through Wednesday
Two storm systems will keep snow and rain chances over New Jersey for the next three days, causing sloppy roads, low visibility, and moderate coastal flooding.
UPDATE as of 7 a.m. Monday...
The National Weather Service has upgraded the Coastal Flood Advisory to a Coastal Flood Warning, in effect for the Jersey Shore through Tuesday morning. The latest guidance suggests that tidal levels for the next 3 tidal cycles will be above the normal expected high tide level. Specifically, water inundation along tidal waterways may require road closures. Remember to never attempt to drive or wade through flooded areas - Turn Around, Don't Drown!
The text of my original post below has been upgraded with this new Warning.
Before you continue reading, you might want to review Sunday's weather blog post for a full breakdown of the current forecast, and Saturday's weather blog post for a description of the various scenarios that could play out early this week.
Here is the latest rundown...
First Storm: A Glancing Blow
As of this writing, the very edge of a powerful coastal storm system is knocking on the door of the Jersey Shore. Luckily, the vast majority of this system WILL miss New Jersey. But we're not out of the woods for some nuisance impacts, especially Monday morning along the coast.
The precipitation will probably start as light rain Monday morning. Shortly thereafter, that rain will transition to wintry mix and/or snow as temperatures fall (due to a brisk northerly wind and evaporative cooling). I'm still thinking an inch or two of snow accumulation will be possible for the eastern half of New Jersey by Monday afternoon. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few 3" reports around Monmouth and Ocean counties.
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 1 p.m. Monday for Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex, Union, Essex, Hudson, eastern Passaic, and Bergen counties.
In addition to the light snow threat, as this storm system churns up the Atlantic Ocean, we could see some rough surf and coastal flooding along the Jersey Shore. 12+ foot ocean waves will batter beaches. The National Weather Service suggests widespread moderate flooding will be possible from Sandy Hook to Cape May as well. The worst flooding threat will occur at the times of high tide: Monday morning, Monday evening, and early Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, where it doesn't snow or rain on Monday, skies will remain cloudy, winds will be brisk, and temperatures will fall through the 30s this afternoon.
Second Storm: Not as Complicated Anymore
Since late last week, models have shown a complicated (although not overly unusual) setup. One low pressure system has been forecast to form over the mid-Atlantic coast, with another low pressure "clipper" system over the Great Lakes. Confidence is rising that this won't be a major winter storm, but we could still see some 6-inch, disruptive snow totals in part of the Garden State.
Here's the thing - the coastal storm component to this system? It looks to stay far enough off-shore to essentially be a non-issue. That means the clipper system will be the main catalyst for snow from Monday night through Wednesday morning. That is an incredibly helpful detail to clear up.
Because of this forecast evolution, modeled snow totals have actually drifted downward a hair over New Jersey. So I've scaled back my 6" contour to only include inland areas of central and southern New Jersey. Along the coast, I worry some rain mixing in will limit final snow totals to about the 2-4" range. North Jersey looks to see some snow from this system, but currently looks stay out of the crosshairs of the area of best lift and heaviest snow. Expect 1-2" north of Interstate 80, otherwise 2-4".
Oh, and I still like the number 3. If I were to forecast 3" for all of New Jersey, I think I'd be close to reality in the end.
If my forecast ultimately busts, I believe it will be in the correct direction. (In other words, I would forecast more snow than we actually get.) Mixing or a shift in the track would reduce snow totals for Central and South Jersey. Both the NAM and Euro models admittedly show lower snow totals than mine. I just don't want to ignore the possibility of 6+ inches from this storm.
Third Issue: Coldest Air of the Season
Our snow chances should clear out by Wednesday morning at the latest. And then, the coldest air of the season arrives on Thursday through the upcoming weekend. High temperatures no warmer than 30 degrees, low temperatures in the teens at best, and brutal wind chills below zero at times. I've been saying it ever since Groundhog Day - winter ain't over, by a long shot!
By the way, the coldest day of the upcoming week looks to be Sunday, Valentine's Day. ((Insert joke here about find a way to stay warm...))
Stay Ahead of the Storm
If the forecast changes, we will post an update Monday afternoon. Otherwise, our next full weather blog update will be published by 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.