An Active, Complicated Forecast: Almost Daily Snow Chances for NJ
Oh boy. This kind of forecast gives me a headache, and makes me want to throw up my hands in disgust and bewilderment. No fewer than four storm systems are set to impact New Jersey over the course of the next five days. There is only one potentially significant snow storm in the bunch — that's Sunday night into Monday morning — but each one could produce scattered slippery spots and a few travel headaches across the Garden State.
As expected, our overnight snow did not amount to very much, with only a dusting of snow across northern and central New Jersey. Untreated surfaces might be a bit slippery in spots, but widespread travel issues are not expected for the Thursday morning commute.
Flurries, clouds, and a breeze will linger through the morning hours, before skies become sunnier Thursday afternoon. High temperatures will be slightly warmer than Wednesday, peaking in the upper 30s to lower 40s. That's on the order of 5 degrees below normal for the final day of February.
Thursday night will turn cloudy again, with cold low temperatures in the mid 20s. In addition, our next storm system will creep closer and closer to the Garden State.
We'll probably see snowflakes enter South Jersey just before daybreak early Friday morning (let's call it 4 a.m.). A brief period of snow will then spread to the north and east across the entire state. Honestly, I'm leaning toward snow accumulations around a coating (north) to an inch (south). But if that initial burst of snow in southern NJ is on the heavier side, I could see snow totals approaching 2 or 3 inches. That's why I opted to put together a snow map — there is a decent chance for minor to moderate wintry issues for Friday morning's commute.
Snow should substantially end by Friday mid-morning (say around 9 a.m.). As temperatures warm to just about the freezing mark, lingering rain showers will remain possible from late morning through Friday afternoon. Skies will remain grey, and thermometers will struggle to even reach 40 degrees.
Yet another shortwave will impact New Jersey Saturday morning, with yet another round of snow (north) and rain (south). I suppose a quick inch of accumulation is possible in colder North Jersey. But I don't see this one being a big deal. The rest of Saturday will be mostly cloudy, with highs in the lower 40s.
Sunday should begin with quiet weather. The day looks mostly cloudy to overcast, with near-normal high temps in the mid 40s. However, the quiet weather won't last long.
Around Sunday late afternoon, a storm system will arrive in New Jersey. As I already mentioned, this one is the most substantial of the week. Messy weather will continue through Sunday night into Monday morning.
Compared to just about every other system this season, this one looks more like a "classic" winter storm. (It almost has a "coastal storm" look to it, but the low pressure just isn't digging south enough to bring the classic northeasterly winds and coastal issues.)
And just like a classic winter storm, it is a very challenging forecast that is highly track and temperature dependent.
If we end up on the warm side of the storm? (As the Euro currently suggests.) All rain.
If we end up just a few degrees colder? (Worst case scenario.) All snow, on the order of 8+ inches.
If the freezing line ends up right over New Jersey? (As the GFS currently suggests.) Snow NW of the Turnpike, rain to snow SE of the Turnpike. A pretty wide swath of 3 to 6 inches of snow accumulation by Monday morning's commute.
I'm leaning toward the third, most complicated solution for now. But we have to leave all three options on the table for now. As the week goes along — and specifically as we clear one or two of the other storm systems — model guidance and our outlook will become clearer and more confident.