Arctic blast, frigid temperatures ahead for New Jersey
Cold temperatures ahead? That's an understatement! Part of the Garden State will stay below freezing from Wednesday night all the way through Tuesday.
The clipper system is departing, and some incredibly cold air is on the way through this weekend. Before I dive into the details of the impending frigidity, let's keep some climatology stats in mind. Normal daily high temperatures for mid-February range from 41 to 43 degrees. Record highs are actually in the 60s. Normal low temperatures for this time of year fall around 25 to 26 degrees. Record lows are below zero throughout the state.
Wednesday actually won't be too bad across the Garden State. Morning snow showers, fog/mist, and clouds will give way to clearing skies through the afternoon. High temperatures should climb to around 40 degrees. That's certainly warm enough to melt some of the meager snow that accumulated on grassy and cold surfaces over the past couple of days. A stiff breeze, however, will make it feel chilly and raw all day.
Our first of two cold air intrusions will come on Thursday. Now, if it were just a partly sunny day with highs near 30? We could deal with that. However, add a brisk 15-25 mph wind, and the day becomes quite uncomfortable. Morning wind chills could dip into the single digits in spots, and get stuck in the teens through the afternoon.
Winds will lighten a bit on Friday. But highs will remain well below normal across New Jersey, in the upper 20s.
And then, along comes Saturday. Oh boy. The coldest air of the season, by far, arrives in the morning. So Saturday's high temperature in the lower to mid 20s will happen early in the day. Temperatures plummet throughout Saturday afternoon and evening.
Sunday morning is looking extraordinarily cold. A low temperature of 5 degrees with a sustained wind of 20 mph yields a wind chill of -15 degrees. Yikes! And those numbers are conservative estimates! Once the wind chill falls that far below zero, the cold air becomes downright dangerous. Frostbite and hypothermia can occur within 30 minutes of exposure.
Wind gusts during the day on Sunday could gust as high as 50 mph, keeping the arctic air in place. Sunday afternoon stays frigid, with highs only in the 15 to 22 degree range.
Thermometers will start to climb out of the cellar on Monday as a lighter southwest wind allows temperatures to climb into the lower to mid 30s.
As for any upcoming winter storm chances, there are two days to watch in the next week. First, models show a system will dive south and east of New Jersey on Saturday morning. The NAM model shows a few snow showers will be possible along the coast, while the GFS indicates a total miss. We're going with a dry, snowless forecast for now but we'll continue monitoring for any changes in the forecast storm track.
The potential for a bigger winter storm is currently showing up in the Monday night-Tuesday time frame. The GFS pushes this system right over New Jersey, while the Euro suggests a (slightly unusual) track completely north of us. No firm details to share yet - it may not even materialize - but this one is definitely worth watching too.