An arctic air mass has settled on top of New Jersey, plunging temperatures and wind chills to dangerous levels through the holiday weekend.

Here are your weather headlines for Friday, February 13, 2015...

Think Warm Thoughts

This is not the "regular ole' wintertime in New Jersey" cold. This is dangerous cold. When wind chills drop below -15° (as we have seen in a few spots this morning), frostbite can affect exposed skin in just 10-15 minutes. Even breathing is painful in this kind of arctic cold. Heavy coats, hats, and gloves are pretty much mandatory today.

High temperatures today will only reach 13° to 21° statewide. But a persistent wind of 15 to 25 mph will keep wind chills below zero this morning, and in the single digits this afternoon. Ouch. Yuck. Brrr, is the best we can say about it.

Valentine’s Day Snow

An incoming clipper will bring a chance for snow by Saturday afternoon and evening. And, for a change, temperatures aloft and at the surface will be cold enough to sustain snow accumulations across the entire state. (No wintry mix junk with this one!) I still think most of the snowfall will be light to moderate. However, heavier bands may set up Saturday afternoon and evening that could bring a few inches of snow in a short period of time.

Here’s the snow accumulation forecast for Saturday through Saturday night...

  • Around Sussex County: 4+ inches
  • North of I-78: 2-4 inches
  • Between I-78 and the AC Expressway: 1-3 inches
  • Far South Jersey: Coating-2 inches

Hopeless romantics, since the peak of this snowstorm will be right around the time of Valentine’s Day dinner, you might consider enjoying a quiet dinner at home instead of going out. If a bit of snow won’t stop you from making that dinner reservation, at least take a peak at the radar before you go!

Near-Record Lows

Despite a brief respite from the extreme cold on Saturday (with highs in the 30s), another arctic front will bring even colder temperatures and even stronger winds by Sunday morning. With high temperatures between 14° and 20°, sustained winds from 20 to 30 mph, and wind gusts over 40 mph, wind chills will likely hover on either side of 0° all day long. That is the very definition of extreme cold.

As winds die down and skies clear Sunday night, we’ll see our near-record cold morning on President’s Day Monday. Low temperatures will drop to about 0°. Record lows for Monday are 3° at Atlantic City (set in 1888), 1° at Trenton (set in 1888), and -1° at Newark (set in 1904).

If that’s not enough, here’s one more important (and frigid) note. Even though Tuesday and Wednesday will feature a slight warmup, temperatures still look to stay below freezing for the foreseeable future (at least a week)... I’ve said it already, and I’ll say it again... Winter 2014-15 will be remembered for this prolonged spell of cold, active winter weather.

Stay warm!