Cold and Icy Now, Frigid Later This Week
Very cold temperatures overnight have caused a flash freeze, and a cold extended forecast does not offer much opportunity for ice and snow to melt.
Here are your weather headlines for Tuesday, February 3, 2015...
Yesterday’s winter storm was impressive, both in scope and scale. Not only did it bring a wide variety of wintry and/or wet weather conditions from the top to the bottom of New Jersey, but it also opened the door to some really cold air. Temperatures plummeted yesterday afternoon, and we experienced a flash freeze. Welcome to the tundra, New Jersey.
As you may recall, this was the second time in three weeks that New Jersey had a flash freeze. The first occurred on January 18, as a result of freezing rain, where liquid rain fell on cold surfaces and froze on contact. Our latest flash freeze was exactly the opposite - rain produced standing water on roads, sidewalks, and other surfaces yesterday, and THEN rapidly cooling temperatures caused it to freeze solid.
Use extreme caution when walking or driving on the widespread ice this morning. Roads that were treated with salt, brine, and/or sand last night are much better than untreated surfaces. Travel is not impossible today, but it will be tricky.
Temperature Roller Coaster
Temperatures will stay cold for today and tonight, below freezing, so there won’t be much (if any) snow and ice melt today. Tomorrow will feature a brief warmup to the lower 40s for most of the state. But on Thursday, an arctic front will bring another shot of cold air... really really cold air... In fact, Thursday night into Friday morning could bring the coldest air of the season so far, with low temperatures potentially dropping to about zero degrees. Temperatures should then moderate a bit into the weekend.
I should mention that my confidence is rather low for any given day’s exact forecast temperatures. While the trend of temperatures (warmer, colder, etc.) is probably about right, the models have a wider-than-usual range of forecast numbers for each day. For the 5-Day Forecast, I’ve tended to go with middle-ground numbers (i.e. not the coldest or warmest model solution), but these numbers are, as always, subject to change as we get closer and as certainty grows.
One Little Storm, One Medium Storm
I’m seeing signs that we are exiting the highly active pattern that has exited for the past two and a half weeks. No more storm after storm after storm, at least for now? I’ll take it!
Regardless, we’re always scanning the horizon for the next weather maker. And there are currently two storms on the horizon to keep an eye on.
The first “little” storm will be Thursday’s arctic front I already mentioned. For now, it looks to bring a brief period of light rain, then transitioning to snow. Accumulations should be rather light. However, a big question mark is the relationship this front will have with an off-shore low. If the low tracks closer to the coast, or enhances the frontal precipitation, we could see a bit more than “light accumulation”. Still not a major storm here - just something to watch.
The second “medium” storm to watch is in the extended forecast for this Sunday. It’s a clipper system that looks to have a little punch behind it. But, since it is five days away, there are still lots of unknowns. At this point, I will say that at few inches of accumulating snow will be possible (if temperatures are cold enough). But it’s still a long ways away, and so way too early to comment on potential timing, totals, and impacts. Stay tuned!