Some snow accumulation for New Jersey early this week
The ingredients for major snow are NOT coming together for New Jersey, but at least some accumulating snow is expected from Monday through Wednesday.
I read an insightful comment somewhere about the impending snow forecast for the first half of this week: We're not forecasting a volcano eruption, it's just snow!
And that is the absolute truth. Neither of our two snow chances this week have the ingredients of a "major" snowstorm for New Jersey. Even my wife just glanced over my shoulder at my latest snow forecast maps and exclaimed, "Ohhh, that's not a lot!" (Thanks, honey!)
However, this forecast still suffers from one big problem: the wiggle. Small shifts in storm track could yield significant differences in snow totals. Before the internet, meteorologists didn't have to broadcast such nuances - we could just get away with saying "there's a chance of snow on Tuesday". That's just not the case anymore.
This represents my idea of a "most likely" snow forecast according to my analysis of all available data. That means two things: 1.) After soaking in all that information, these are the snowfall accumulations I am comfortable publicizing, and 2.) I believe there are equal chances that this forecast will "bust" high and low.
I'm going to try not to get too technical in this forecast discussion. So, before you continue reading, I recommend you review my previous blog entry for analysis on the various scenarios that could play out for each storm.
Monday: Near-miss or Near-hit
Bottom Line: An immense and powerful coastal storm will mostly miss New Jersey. However, the outer bands of precipitation will probably drop an inch or two of snow accumulation along the coast.
Sunday morning and again this afternoon, all major models have been in agreement that the vast majority of this incredible storm will stay away from New Jersey. Even if you're a snow-lover, that's a very good thing, because conditions would probably be "blizzard-plus" if we took a direct hit from this incredibly deep and incredibly large area of low pressure.
However, there is agreement that New Jersey will see a "glancing blow" from this system, providing some snow over the eastern half of the state on Monday. My forecast is generally for "an inch or two" of accumulation, with the potential sweet spot in coastal Monmouth and Ocean counties.
That's not a lot of snow in total, but reduced visibility and gusty winds (to 25 mph) will contribute to a potentially wintry day. Minor coastal flooding and rough surf (with 10-foot ocean waves) will be possible too.
However, this remains a low confidence forecast with high volatility, due to the wiggle factor. If the storm tracks a bit further out to sea, we get practically nothing in New Jersey. If the storm hugs closer to the coast, ultimate snow totals would be higher - maybe in the 4 to 6 inch range along the coast? It is important to note that the past few coastal storms have tracked further west than models indicated. I have compensated for that, to some degree, in my latest forecast.
It's still not a major storm, but one to keep a close eye on for both the morning and evening commutes on Monday.
Monday Night through Wednesday: Slow and Steady
Bottom Line: A complicated combination of systems will provide a persistent chance of snow all day Tuesday. While the snowfall intensity doesn't look incredibly heavy on average, a good part of the state could see upwards of a half-foot of snow by Wednesday morning.
Remember the number 3. When I made my first call forecast a couple of days ago for this second snow chance of the week, I said a general 3" snow forecast was looking good for Monday night through Wednesday morning. Given the latest model output, I still like that 3" benchmark as a general guideline for snowfall. Now, as my forecast map shows, some areas could see a bit more (up to 6"). And some areas (mainly far north and far south) will probably see a bit less.
The setup is complicated, as a low pressure system right along the Atlantic coast will combine with a clipper system over the Great Lakes to produce snow. As I said, we're going to get "something" wintry on Tuesday. But there remain some differences among the model forecasts.
This forecast becomes especially difficult because it is dependent on the outcome of Monday's coastal storm. (I always say the models work best when we're looking at "one storm at a time".) My forecast here is pretty close to the GFS and the NAM. The European notably shows only a widespread 1-2" from this combination of storm systems.
Again, I'm comfortable but not 100% confident with these numbers. Again, it's still not a major "bread and milk" storm. However, 6+ inches could cause some serious disruptions on the roads and rails.
Beyond Wednesday: COLD
The forecast for the second half of the week quiets down significant, but it is going to be cold! Models continue to show high temperatures in the 20s and lows in the teens at best through the Valentine's Day Weekend. Brrrr!
Keep in mind, those bitterly cold temperatures will also mean the snow on the ground won't be melting any time soon. Winter isn't over yet!
Stay Ahead of the Storm
Hopefully you get the idea that these storms will cause some headaches, but shouldn't be crippling, as long as you stay weather-aware and stay smart. As always, our weather, traffic, and news teams will be on the ball throughout the snow storms, collecting the very latest information and passing it on to you. You may also find the following links useful:
--Stormwatch Closings (Schools, etc.)
--New Jersey Fast Traffic
--Download Our FREE Mobile App
--Dan Zarrow's Weather Blog
--Weather News and Information
Next weather blog update will be published by 7 a.m. Monday morning.