Deep freeze continues; how far off is Spring?
Record-breaking cold has returned to New Jersey, with temperatures remaining 10 to 20+ degrees below seasonal normals through the rest of the week.
Here are your weather headlines for Tuesday, February 24, 2015...
As of this writing, we have already broken the daily low temperature record for Newark Airport (KEWR). The old record was 6°, set 81 years ago in 1934. The records for Trenton (-2°) and Atlantic City (2°) will likely remain intact, but many locations across the Garden State are starting off below zero this morning. At least the wind chill won’t be a huge concern today, with relatively light winds of 5 to 15 mph.
The forecast for the coming week doesn’t carry much hope of a warm-up. Wednesday will be slightly warmer, with highs in the 30s, but a brisk wind will keep wind chills on the cold side. Another intrusion of arctic air arrives Thursday and Friday, so highs will struggle to climb through the 20s. At the moment, our next chance of a warmup will be Sunday (30s) into Monday (40s). But whether or not we will climb above normal is still questionable. My forecast high temperature for Monday in Atlantic City is 47°; one model shows 50° is a possibility. Atlantic City’s normal high for Monday is 48°.
Even though temperatures remain cold, at least there are no major storms in the forecast through the end of the weekend. We will, however, see a couple chances for some light snow.
A light snow shower or flurry will be possible tonight as one weak disturbance rides the Atlantic coast and another pushes past North Jersey. I don’t expect anything more than a few snowflakes to a coating.
Another shot of snow will come Thursday morning. There is currently way more uncertainty than I’d like to see with two days to go until snow-time The GFS sends this system way out to sea, but the NAM puts at least some snow over South Jersey from about 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday. I think it’s unlikely, but if the storm track trends a bit further north/west, we could have a shot of accumulating snow across the entire state. So, out of an abundance of caution, I’ve put an inch or two of potential accumulation in the forecast. However, it is admittedly just as likely that we see no snow at all on Thursday morning. Stay tuned.
Where is Spring?
Nowhere in sight, unfortunately. Temperatures will stay cold through the end of this Frigid February, but hopefully we will avoid the "brutal cold" of below-zero temperatures and wind chills. (I think we will.) We are still trending toward a Top 5 Coldest February on record for several weather stations across the state. In fact, Atlantic City appears to be on track for the 2nd coldest February since 1874. (Only the legendary cold winter of 1979 ranks colder.)
As for Spring? Sorry, keep waiting. Long-range forecast models keep temperatures below normal and mostly below freezing through at least March 10. Climatological Spring begins March 1 (for record-keeping purposes), and the official First Day of Spring (Vernal Equinox) is March 20.