Warm today, cold tonight, snow later this week
Tuesday will be the warmest day by far of the next week or so, as cooler air returns to New Jersey, setting up a chance for accumulating snow by the end of the week.
Here are your weather headlines for Tuesday, March 17, 2015...
Early Showers, Highs Near 60°
Tuesday morning so far has been wet and warm across New Jersey. A few overnight showers has led to about a trace of precipitation in spots this morning. There’s not much in the rain gauge this morning, but the showers have been enough to moisten up the roads a bit. A sprinkle will remain possible through late morning. In general we’ll see mostly cloudy skies today.
More noticeably, temperatures will soar to 60° or better for most of New Jersey today. However, don’t get used to this latest taste of early spring warmth, as today looks to be the warmest day of the next week.
Cooler air is once again diving toward New Jersey, and by late afternoon, temperatures will begin to drop sharply. You’ll know when the front - the leading edge of that cooler air - has arrived, as the northwest wind will pick up dramatically, gusting over 30 mph. Temperatures will fall from the lower 60s this afternoon to the mid 20s by morning. And with that gusty wind continuing, the term “wind chill” must return to our meteorological vocabulary. It will only feel like the Teens at best through tonight and tomorrow due to the combination of cold and wind.
Wednesday, we’ll see highs in the 39° to 46° range, just below normal for mid-March. Even though skies will likely become mostly sunny, the gusty winds will make it somewhat uncomfortable. Thursday will be better with similar temperatures in the lower to mid 40s, lighter winds, and plenty of sunshine.
Snowy Start to Spring?
Yesterday, I made mention of a "near-miss" storm system on Friday, that looked to be nothing but showers. As I feared, the forecast storm track has drifted further west. Not only will that provide for a better chance of precipitation for New Jersey, but a cooler forecast means that precipitation could very well fall as snow. Yes, perhaps even accumulating snow. Might I remind you that Friday is the First Day of Spring?
As always, there are several challenges that prevent us from making a definitive forecast at this time. First is the fact that the storm is still 72+ hours away, which is generally too early to make a definitive call on storm track and potential snow totals. Second, surface temperatures look to be at or just above freezing on Friday, making the precipitation type forecast difficult. Third, this particular storm presents a timing challenge, as it looks to push through New Jersey mostly during the daytime hours on Friday. If it were an overnight storm, the chance of snow (rather than rain) would be higher due to naturally cooler temperatures in the middle of the night.
So here’s what we’re comfortable saying for now... A marginal winter storm is possible for Friday. Precipitation type at this point is not entirely clear, but snow is certainly possible. And it’s fair to say that the potential is there for “a few inches” of snow accumulation. The timing for this system looks to be from Friday morning (after sunrise) through early Saturday morning. And the heaviest precipitation currently looks to affect Central and South Jersey.
Sorry to be deliberately vague, but this is still a volatile forecast, subject to change dramatically. You should keep a close eye on Friday’s weather forecast, and we’ll do the same with regular updates online and on-air as that forecast evolves.