A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for most of the Garden State until Thursday afternoon, with a large area of 6+ inches of accumulation expected.

1.) The Storm So Far

As expected, our winter storm arrived just after midnight Thursday morning, bringing snow to the northern third of New Jersey and mostly rain to the rest of the state. Amidst falling temperatures, the rain-snow line has been steadily drifting south. As it does, rain will quickly changeover to sleet and snow, and begin to accumulate rapidly shortly thereafter.

On Wednesday evening, I described this storm as a "snow bomb," due to this system's rapid changeover and accumulation. I maintain the accuracy and appropriateness of that term.

2.) Timeline

Through just after daybreak, any areas of rain will transition to snow. The only area that may have trouble changing to snow is South Jersey, which is expected to see little to no accumulation. Bands of heavy snow through the early morning hours will cause visibility to drop significantly and snow to accumulate quickly.

After about 9 a.m., snow intensity will calm with light to moderate snow showers expected through the afternoon.

By late afternoon, snow will taper off from west to east. I expect final flakes to exit the state by 4 p.m. at the latest.

A brisk wind will pick up through Thursday afternoon, especially in South Jersey. Sustained northerly winds will climb to 20 to 30 mph, with gusts to 40 or 50 mph.

3.) Totals

We're still looking at a wide swath of North and Central Jersey picking up over a half-foot of snow. Particularly in the northeast corner of New Jersey, totals may end up closer to a foot.

Between I-195 and the Atlantic City Expressway, ultimate snow totals may be mitigated by the relatively late transition from rain to snow. My latest forecast shows Monmouth County picking up 4 to 7 inches, Ocean County seeing about 2 to 5 inches, and the I-295 corridor shoveling about 3 to 6 inches.

South Jersey has been a puzzler all week long, and it's still uncertain what time rain changes to snow - or if it changes at all. The end result for Atlantic, Cape May, and Cumberland counties will be either hardly any snow or about 3 inches on the ground.


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4.) Warning/Advisory

Current warnings and advisories from the National Weather Service. (Pink=Winter Storm Warning, Purple=Winter Weather Advisory, Red=Blizzard Warning, Tan=Wind Advisory)

A Winter Storm Warning is now in effect for 18 of New Jersey's 21 counties:
--Until 1 p.m. Thursday for Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem counties
--Until 4 p.m. Thursday for Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties.
--Until 6 p.m. Thursday for Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union counties.

A less urgent, less severe Winter Weather Advisory will be in effect for the other 3 counties:
--Until Noon Thursday for Atlantic, Cape May, and Cumberland counties.

In addition, the National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for this afternoon for South Jersey:
--Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday for Atlantic, Burlington, Camden Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties.

5.) Coastal Concerns

I maintain that this storm isn't going to cause significant problems along the Jersey Shore. However, a brief period of easterly winds will push a bit of water toward the coast. Minor flooding will be possible around and just after the time of high tide. Minor beach erosion will be possible due to 6 foot waves.

A Coastal Flood Advisory (not a warning) has been issued for coastal Ocean, southeastern Burlington, Atlantic, and Cape May counties.

6.) Impacts

The vast majority of deaths from winter storms such as this come from traffic accidents. You need to use extreme caution and discretion before hitting the road at any time Thursday morning. Visibility and traction will be very poor during the peak of the storm. Plow crews need room to work, and you're much better off staying home and staying alive.

School closings and delays are already widespread. Train and plane delays and cancellations are likely as well.

Meanwhile, the heavy, wet nature of the snow and the brisk winds could contribute to scattered power outages across the state.

7.) What's Next?

Temperatures will continue plummeting Thursday night, making for a very cold overnight. Low temperatures are forecast to fall to the 9 to 18 degree range by Friday morning. In addition, if a breeze persists overnight, wind chill ("feels like") temperatures could fall to zero. Bundle up!

We stay cold on Friday, although breaks of sun should kick off the snow melt process. Highs are expected to reach the lower 30s for most of the state, with a continuing brisk wind.

Given the busy morning, I didn't pay much attention to the long-range forecast. But it looks like thermometers will warm into the upper 40s to 50s for the weekend. There could be a snow shower early Saturday morning, limited to North Jersey. More widespread rain will be possible statewide on Sunday.

Be safe, be smart, and stay with us all day for the latest winter weather, traffic, and news information!

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.