Arctic Cold Returns But How Deep Will Temperatures Dive?
Yet another arctic blast will bring very cold temperatures, gusty winds, and snow showers for Monday, but the outlook for the week looks much quieter.
Here are your weather headlines for Monday, February 23, 2015...
Turning Colder Again
Yet another arctic air mass has been creeping slowly toward New Jersey, and that colder air will push through the state from north to south Monday morning. As it does, temperatures across the state will tumble from the 30s into the 20s. We'll likely end up in the lower 20s by late this afternoon. Gusty winds, sustained at 15 to 25 mph with gusts over 30 mph, will make for frigid wind chills.
As temperatures drop sharply, any water on roads, sidewalks, and other surfaces will likely freeze quickly. Use extreme caution for both the morning and evening commutes due to the likelihood of ice.
The core of this arctic air will settle over us tonight. Temperatures will fall well into the single digits, and I expect lows to end up in the -2° to 5° range. Because winds will be light, wind chills will be very close to the temperature, and so I wouldn’t necessarily consider this “dangerous” cold. Regardless, we will be within a few degrees of the daily record lows.
Mostly Dry This Week
There are a few chances for snow and rain showers this week, but really nothing to write home about. A chance of snow showers today... another shot at showers on Wednesday... and maybe (big maybe) coastal showers on Friday... Nothing heavy for any of these chances, and otherwise it looks to be a dry week.
At the moment, our next storm system of any substance will come as we begin March on Sunday-Monday. Enjoy the fairly quiet weather this week while it lasts.
Cold Air Machine Breaking Down?
As I’ve discussed before, February has been abnormally cold, even by New Jersey February standards. Many weather stations across the state will rank 2015 among the Top 5 coldest Februarys on record. And as you know, we are returning to frigid temperatures today and tonight, with another shot of arctic air on Thursday.
I’m seeing signs, however, that the dynamics behind the really cold air are finally breaking down. Obviously, as we get closing to spring and days get longer, it just becomes more difficult for Mother Nature to sustain these cold temperatures. But for the incoming arctic intrusions this week, we are really just going to be “clipped” by the cores of these arctic air masses. Tonight’s near-zero temperatures are just as much about radiative cooling as they are about arctic air. That’s evident by the light winds - tonight’s bitter cold will be very different from last week’s brutal cold, because the wind will be very light, and wind chills will therefore be irrelevant. Plus, our winter storm trend is becoming much less active this week, which could be a sign that winter is calming down (at least temporarily).
Don’t misunderstand me... Medium- and long-range models currently keep temperatures below normal (and mostly below freezing) through at least the second week of March. But we may very well be close to the end of the persistent brutal cold - the highs in the teens, lows below zero, and wind chills no better than the single digits.
Could tonight be our last below-zero night for the winter season, or at least for the near future? Yes. I hope so.
Is it time to break out the bathing suits and t-shirts? Eh, not quite.