Weather Blog: Weekend Starts Cold, Ends with Snow
With very cold temperatures and several shots of snow in the coming week, no one will be able to say that New Jersey didn't have a real winter this year.
Here are your weather headlines for Friday, January 30, 2015...
Bitter Cold to Start the Weekend
No other way to say it... Tonight and tomorrow morning are going to be brutally, even dangerously cold for New Jersey. Northwest winds of 20 to 30 MPH will pick up by late Friday afternoon, marking a return of cold, arctic air to the state. Temperatures will fall sharply this afternoon and this evening, with lows expected to end up in the single digits and teens. Additionally, that fierce wind continues overnight. That will push the wind chill ("feels like" temperature) to about -5 to -15. Ouch!
The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for the entire state from this afternoon through tomorrow morning. Sussex, Passaic, and Bergen counties will be under a Wind Chill Advisory with dangerous wind chills possible, as cold as -20 degrees. And coastal waters along the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay are subject to a Freezing Spray Advisory as light to moderate ice accumulation is likely on vessels, docks, and bulkheads tonight.
Our next shot for snow will come late Sunday into Monday. First flakes/drops could come as early as Sunday afternoon, and could slow you down if you're heading to or from a Super Bowl party. The heaviest precipitation is forecast to occur through the Monday morning hours, making the commute a potential mess. Last flakes/drops are expected around Monday evening.
The biggest question about this system is the track, which will significantly affect temperatures. Confidence is rising that this will be a mostly snow event instead of a mostly rain event (as we believed earlier this week). Several model runs in a row put New Jersey on the cold side of this storm, as least through the peak of the precipitation early Monday morning. The GFS and Euro models show good agreement in the location and strength of the storm. There is fairly good agreement about the cold temperatures that will be advected into New Jersey (although GFS is slightly colder). I'm just a little concerned at the moment that even a slight warmup could end up pumping out more sleet or rain than snow from this storm, especially in South Jersey.
It's still about a day too early to really start talking about snow accumulations or plot a snow bullseye on a forecast map. However... as long as you don't hold me to it... given the current model output, and a mostly snow forecast, I'd probably put something like a 3-6" or 4-8" contour across most of the state. This weekend, please keep an eye on the web and an ear on the radio - we'll keep you updated with the latest forecast.
I first mentioned last week that we were entering an active, wintry pattern in the atmosphere, and that looks to continue. Even though it's still six days away, models are showing another storm system digging through the Gulf of Mexico and riding along the Atlantic coast next Thursday into Friday. For now, the presence of this storm makes it "worth watching" but very few other details are available. For now, the GFS is faster and further east than the Euro model - this lack of agreement means we can't yet competently say whether this storm will bring New Jersey mostly rain, mostly snow, or even nothing at all. Again, it's worth watching, but no need to panic. If it continues to materialize, we'll have more on this storm next week.