Winter Storm Looks Disorganized, But NJ Will Still See Snow
Even though the snowfall forecast has decreased a bit, a few inches of snow across New Jersey will still present travel difficulties today and tonight.
Snow began falling overnight ahead of an impending clipper system, diving toward New Jersey from the Great Lakes. A healthy coating accumulated on cars and roads for part of the state. This is just the appetizer ahead of some higher snow totals by Wednesday morning. But don't misunderstand me: this fairly disorganized storm is not going to have "major" impacts on New Jersey.
This morning's forecast models came to a pretty firm consensus regarding our incoming winter storm: Lower snow totals for New Jersey. Additionally, the anticipated axis of strongest lift and therefore biggest snow has shifted northward slightly. We have tweaked our forecast a bit as a result of this last-minute shift. But since we weren't buying widespread 8-9 inch totals to begin with, our newest snow forecast map is not a dramatic shift from previous thinking.
The Winter Storm Warning was cancelled by the National Weather Service Tuesday morning. I was quite surprised by the timing and wording of the warning when it was issued Monday afternoon. And I'm even more shocked they cancelled it just 12 hours later, before the storm really started! (I guess that's why pencils have erasers?) As a replacement, a Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for all of New Jersey expect Sussex and Warren counties, for Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.
It will not snow all day. Occasional periods of snow mixed with rain are expected throughout the daytime hours on Tuesday. The heaviest precipitation of the storm should hold off until later, moving into the southern half of the state (below I-195) between about 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday. Meanwhile, snowfall for the northern half of the state (above I-195) will peak between about 6 p.m. Tuesday evening and 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. The snow will taper off significantly by daybreak Wednesday, with all precipitation ending by around 10 a.m. Wednesday at the latest.
I still like the number 3. Yes, I created a complete snow accumulation forecast map (posted above). But if I told you to generally expect 3" of snow, give or take, by Wednesday morning, I think it would ultimately be very close to the truth. Having said that, snow totals could be a bit higher for some area between I-80 and the Atlantic City Expressway. I've painted a wide area of 3 to 5 inches here. (Confidence is shaky regarding exactly where the heaviest snow will fall in this window.) Far North Jersey (Sussex and Warren county) currently looks to avoid the best storm dynamics, while the southern coast could see some rain mixed in throughout the storm. Therefore, our forecast map shows a lower 1 to 3 inches for the ends of the state.
The biggest wintry impact will be hazardous driving conditions due to slippery roads and reduced visibilities. This will, of course, be especially true during the peak of the storm.
Schools have a somewhat difficult decision for Tuesday, as the heavier snow may start to encroach the skies of New Jersey by dismissal time. Afternoon and evening activities may be in jeopardy. Meanwhile, Wednesday morning delays and cancellations will likely be a game day decision, depending on how much snow ultimately accumulates and how quickly road crews can clear it overnight.
Coastal flooding will continue to be a problem for one more high tide cycle, between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. In fact, surge models show Tuesday morning's tides will be the highest of the week. That is notable given the widespread flooding and road closures observed Monday morning along the Jersey Shore. Moderate to localized major flooding should be expected, according to the National Weather Service.
After the snow wraps up, temperatures will take a big nosedive through the Valentine's Day Weekend. We're talking truly frigid air here. The coldest air of the season. Highs in the 20s. Lows in the single digits. Painfully cold wind chills. Ouch.