From cold to warm to wet and wintry
Thermometers on Friday will read about 20 degrees below normal, although some temperature recovery is expected for the first half of the weekend.
Here are your weather headlines for Friday, February 6, 2015...
Cold & Blustery
It’s cold! So cold, in fact, that I’m currently typing this post while wearing a winter hat, gloves, and a scarf. OK, maybe not... But temperatures on Friday morning were limited to the single digits north of the Raritan River, with wind chills near zero throughout the state. Even snowmen have been seeking shelter to keep warm.
We won’t improve much on those temperatures by Friday afternoon, with highs expected to only reach 17° in Andover, 23° in Newark, 24° in Trenton and Belmar, 27° in Wrightstown, and 29° in Atlantic City. Add even a minor breeze up to 15-20 mph, and wind chills will be held to the teens all day.
Temporary Temperature Recovery
A "finger" of warm air is showing up on the charts for the state tomorrow, so it looks like we’ll get at least a temporary respite from the bitter cold. Highs tomorrow should be mostly in the 37°-43° range, right around normal for early February. Quiet weather, lighter winds, and a least a few breaks of blue sky will also contribute to what looks like a nice day. I still wouldn’t call it “warm” or “a taste of spring” necessarily, but it will a welcome change from Friday’s arctic chill.
The "Big" Storm...
It really isn’t that big after all.
This is the exact reason why meteorologists need to show restraint when forecast models show significant snow totals. Two or three days ago, even I was ready to post a 6+ inch snow forecast. I’ve heard and seen colleagues (and non-colleagues) hyping 12+ inches of snow for New Jersey.
No. Just no.
As we’ve already seen several times this winter, the storm setup for early next week will be a close call. *Someone* will get big snow, potentially over a foot. That someone will not be us; the latest model runs have shown the storm track will take a turn to the north, and so almost all of the snow will be well north of Jersey. However, just south of the biggest snow totals will be a tight gradient of much lower totals due to warmer temperatures forcing snow to change to wintry mix and rain. Highs on Sunday and Monday will be within a few degrees of the freezing mark north of Interstate 78. So that’s where we’ll maintain the possibility of multiple inches of snow (we’ll say up to 4 inches). South Jersey is currently predicted to push close to 50 degrees on Sunday and Monday. There might be cold enough to sustain some snow during the colder overnight hours, but it’ll be mostly rain rain rain.
Even though we’re not talking about major accumulations, the weather will still be potentially nasty. Persistent light rain, sleet, and snow may reduce visibilities and make for some icy or slushy spots late Sunday into Monday.
And that’s the only potential problem here... the fact that this precipitation looks to be persistent, and spread out throughout Sunday and Monday. If an area sees 36-48 hours of light snow, it’s going to accumulate, at least a little bit. So this storm remains one to watch - I don’t want to have to communicate a drastic change to the forecast this weekend, and I certainly don’t want any nasty surprises on Sunday or Monday. For now, just be ready for a little bit of rain, a little bit of snow, and maybe some icing... but probably not a big snow storm.