Nor’easter #3: Light Snow, 40 MPH Gusts, Minor Flooding
For the third time in just ten days — and for possibly the last time this winter season — we've got a nor'easter in our midst. While impacts in New Jersey will be limited this time around, travel could get sloppy, winds could blow hard, and tidal waters may once again overflow their banks. This storm will be far more severe for eastern Long Island and New England.
What is a nor'easter?
There's some confusion as to why we're calling this "Nor'easter #3". I have a feeling many New Jerseyans think a "nor'easter" simply refers to a powerful winter storm. While that may be true, a nor'easter refers to a coastal storm with a very specific track along the Atlantic seaboard. It is so named because of the northeasterly ("nor'east") winds felt across the Northeastern United States throughout the storm.
When was the last time we had three nor'easter storms in the span of 10 days? I have no idea — not that I can recall.
--Monday late morning (11 a.m.): Scattered rain showers begin to arrive
--Monday evening (8 p.m.): Light rain turns to light snow, and begins accumulating
--Tuesday morning (10 p.m.): Snow ends
Winter Weather Advisory
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory for 14 counties in northern, central, and eastern New Jersey:
--From 8 p.m. Monday to 10 a.m. Tuesday for Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties
--From 8 p.m. Monday to Noon Tuesday for Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union counties.
Don't expect much. I believe some forecasters — namely the National Weather Service — have been grossly overestimating snow totals from this storm. As of Monday morning, their worst-case scenario still shows almost 10 inches of snow across most of the state. Ain't gonna happen.
Here's my final call:
--Western half of NJ: 0 to 1 inches
--Eastern half of NJ: 1 to 2 inches
--Along the eastern edge of NJ: Local amounts up to 3 inches
I'm leaving those regions vague and I am not creating a snow map, on purpose. I think it's appropriate to downplay snowfall amounts here — it will be enough to cause sloppy travel conditions, but not enough to grind the state to a halt again.
No weather forecast is complete without a measure of the forecaster's confidence, or level of uncertainty. Honestly, I feel pretty good about these numbers, as forecast models have been remarkably consistent for several days now, settling on an offshore, low-snow solution.
Would I be surprised if we see hardly any snow on the ground by Tuesday morning? No I wouldn't.
Would I be surprised if this storm overperforms dramatically and dumps snow somewhere in the Garden State? Yes I would, actually.
Normally not a big deal. But because there are so many weakened trees and power lines across New Jersey, the anticipated gusts deserve a little bit of extra attention.
--Along the Jersey Shore: Gusts to 40 mph
--Interior New Jersey: Gusts to 30 mph
Wind direction will be out of the northeast Monday night, shifting to northwesterly by Tuesday morning.
Here we go again. Latest guidance suggests "minor" category flooding of tidal waterways during the high tide cycle early Tuesday morning. That equates to flooding in the "usual spots" from any significant storm. Vulnerable roadways and low-lying areas may experience minor water inundation issues, but significant property damage and/or a prolonged period flooding is not expected. Tuesday morning's high tide is expected to bring the highest water levels, but we'll have to keep an eye on the Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning high tide cycles for water issues too.
As snow showers end Tuesday morning, we should see breaks of sunshine by Tuesday afternoon. Winds will remain elevated, with potential gusts to 30 mph. And high temperatures will end up slightly below normal, in the lower to mid 40s.
40s will be the rule through the rest of the week too. Wednesday will see sun then clouds, with a few afternoon showers. Thursday and Friday look partly sunny and reasonably pleasant. Hopefully a slow warmup will kick in this weekend, pushing temperatures into above-normal 50s by early next week.
There are no major winter storms in the forecast, and time is running out for cold-enough air to fuel significant snowfall. Yes, this might be it, folks...