Cold air returns to NJ Wednesday, and it’s here to stay
Two batches of snow showers are still in the forecast through the weekend.
The big weather headline in this busy weather week has always been the introduction of cold arctic air. Yes, the media is buzzing with talk of the "polar vortex" — and I'd argue that the hype is almost warranted. Once the cold air settles in, the wintertime chill will be here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Rain showers moved in and out right on schedule overnight, with rainfall totals mostly between a quarter-inch and half-inch. As of this writing (6 a.m.), final showers are just clearing the Jersey Shore. The rest of Wednesday will be dry. However, as our cold front stalls just south of New Jersey, persistent clouds will probably keep skies mostly grey too.
Behind the rain, a brisk westerly wind has picked up, which will drive the initial stage of our cooldown. Temperatures will probably hover in the 40s for most of the day. As I've mentioned all week, this front isn't causing an "arctic blast" where temperatures suddenly plummet 30 degrees in a few hours — it's more of a "slow leak" scenario. While Wednesday (40s) will certainly be cooler than Tuesday (lower 60s), it's not going to get truly "cold" until Friday and the weekend.
In fact, Thursday doesn't look half bad, with near-normal high temperatures in the mid to upper 40s. North Jersey will be partly sunny, while South Jersey may be stuck under mostly cloudy skies. While the NAM model continues to paint rain showers over South Jersey, I continue to promote a dry forecast.
Friday's high temperatures will be limited to the lower 40s — that's pretty cold. Mostly cloudy skies and a stiff breeze will make the day feel a bit more wintry.
We continue to track a coastal storm system that could impact New Jersey in the Friday evening-Saturday morning time frame. Model consensus still isn't great, but there is a trend. And that trend shows nothing more than "conversational snow" — not the more significant winter storm that was feared early in the week.
Worst-case snowfall totals? Upwards of 2 inches of snow accumulation across Atlantic and Cape May counties. (Usually the south coast is the least snowiest place in the state — not this time!) And I'll be generous in suggesting a trace to an inch of snow will be possible south and east of the New Jersey Turnpike. (I'm favoring King Euro for this snowfall forecast, by the way.)
Again, it's important to note this system will not be a big deal for anyone in the Garden State. It's still a coin flip whether the snow bands miss us completely, or whether we indeed see our first accumulation of the season.
Unseasonable cold will continue through the weekend. Saturday looks partly sunny, with highs only in the lower 40s. Another batch of snow showers may produce a light dusting statewide early Sunday morning. While sunshine resumes on Sunday, high temps will struggle to make it to 40 degrees.
Reinforcing shots of cold air through next week will keep New Jersey on the cold side of the world through at least late next week. That also means any storm system will have the potential of producing snow. Bundle up!