Quiet weather Monday, rain-snow Tuesday, bitter cold Wednesday
UPDATE as of 3:55 p.m. Monday...
As expected, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for 8 counties in northern and western New Jersey:
--From 4 a.m. to Midnight for Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties.
--From 6 a.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday for western Bergen and western Passaic counties.
A little farther south than I would have drawn it, but it's OK to play it safe. An advisory simply serves as a formal heads up for potentially sloppy travel concerns.
I see no big changes to the timing and totals forecast I laid out earlier (see below). For the advisory area, mainly North of I-78 and West of I-287, I believe 3 to 5 inches of snow accumulation is becoming increasingly likely. Outside of that northwest corner of the state, about an inch of snow is possible Tuesday evening (after a period of light rain Tuesday afternoon).
ORIGINAL POST from 5:58 a.m. Monday...
Hello, final week of January! We're almost two-thirds of the way through climatological winter (December-January-February), and snowfall is running quite a bit below normal for the season so far. We've had cold air, we've had storms — but the timing or geography is just a little bit off every time to bury us. Same thing for this week — the little storm system will precede the return to bitter, arctic cold.
I'm calling Monday a quiet, dry weather day for New Jersey. But it's going to be notably colder than Sunday too. No more 50s, high temps for Monday afternoon only reach the mid 30s. We're starting the day with clouds from a distant coastal storm system. Sunshine should break out by late morning (west) to late afternoon (east). Again, quiet. Not bad for late January.
Monday night will be partly cloudy and seasonably cold, as low temps dip into the lower to mid 20s.
--Tuesday late morning (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)... Initial precipitation will be light, probably in the form of snow showers along the western edge of New Jersey.
--Tuesday afternoon (1 p.m. to 7 p.m.)... High temperatures will range from mid 30s (NW NJ), to upper 30s (NE NJ), to lower 40s (central, south, coast). So for almost the entire state, we'll see a transition to periodic rain. Snow or wintry mix may persist in the colder northwest corner of the state.
--Tuesday evening (7 p.m. to 1 a.m.)... As temperatures start to dip after sunset, it looks like the entire state will transition from wet to wintry, from rain to snow. Even though the ground will be wet, snow and slush may start to accumulate.)
--Northwestern NJ (north of I-78, west of I-287)... As usual, the cold corner of the state will see the most snow. 1 to 2 inches is likely, with 3 to 5 inches possible.
--Most of NJ... If temperatures fall fast enough, if snowfall is hard enough, and if the air doesn't dry out too much, we'll see some fresh snow on the ground by the time you wake up Wednesday morning. A coating to an inch is likely, with 1 to 2 inches possible across the northeastern, central, and southern parts of the state.
--Along the Jersey Shore... The last to transition from rain to snow, and therefore the least snowy spot in the state. A healthy coating to an inch is still possible.
Conditions may get a bit messy during Tuesday evening's transition from rain to snow, and again after snow wraps up early Wednesday morning. As usual, I need to stress that this is not a major storm — it's a fairly minor rain-to-conversational-snow event for most of the state. A little more impactful in colder Northwester Jersey, of course. — we'll probably see an advisory issued at some point, but I believe a warning is unlikely.
As this storm system exits, the door to the arctic will open again. Very cold air will return on a strong westerly wind on Wednesday. Thermometers will fall from upper 20s Wednesday morning, into the single digits by Wednesday evening. Wind gusts in the 40 to 60 mph range could cause some damage, driving difficulties, and sporadic power outages. Of course, the fierce wind will also make it feel even colder.
Thursday is going to be very similar to last Monday (MLK Day). Morning lows in the single digits, with dangerous wind chills well below zero (-5 to -15). Afternoon highs only in the upper teens to around 20 (at best). Daytime wind chills no better than about 0 degrees. As you know, in this kind of frigid weather, you have to bundle up tightly, dressing in layers and covering up and and all exposed skin.
While Friday will be less windy, it will still be unseasonably cold with highs in the lower to mid 20s. One model — the GFS — shows a light snow chance clipping South Jersey on Friday afternoon. No other guidance backs up this little storm system, so I've opted to leave it out of my forecast for now.
The early look at the weekend shows chilly, quiet, mostly sunny weather. Lower 30s on Saturday (Weather Rodent Day!), upper 30s on Sunday (Big Game Day!). Next chance for a weather maker would be early next week.