A brief warmup, then cold and snow return
A brief warmup across New Jersey today is a welcome sign after a week and half of below-normal temperatures, but colder air and more snow are on the way.
Here are your weather headlines for Wednesday, February 4, 2015…
A Short Respite from the Cold
The last time the weather station at Newark Liberty International Airport experienced above-normal temperatures was January 25 - a full 10 days ago. Not coincidentally, we’ve had snow on the ground across much of New Jersey for about 10 days too - the snow cover can help to cool temperatures by a couple degrees.
Today may very well break that streak, as forecast high temperatures should be right around the normal high of 40°. We should see plenty of snow and ice melt today, thanks to both the mild temperatures and the breaks of sun. Obviously, it’s a far cry from the summertime 80s and 90s that are just a few months away… But all things considered, today will be a pleasant early February day.
Then Cold and Snowy Again
Ah, winter in New Jersey… Gotta love it! Just as we get to enjoy one nice day with near-normal temperatures, Mother Nature will throw another arctic blast our way.
A front will approach New Jersey tonight, which will likely spawn some light precipitation. Given the fact that low temperatures tonight will be in the 23° to 31° range across the state, we’re looking at snow. Forecast amounts are pretty low, so I think describing these as “snow showers” is accurate. If one of these showers spawns a heavier snow band, or if the snow sits over one location for a while, we might see up to an inch of fresh snow accumulation. In the higher elevations of Northwest Jersey (Sussex and Warren Co.), I’ll even say that up to 2 inches of snow will be possible tonight. Even so, that’s not much at all, especially considering most of the state still has plenty of snow and ice already on the ground. The most likely timing for snowflakes would be in the 10 p.m. tonight to Noon tomorrow time frame.
A front is defined simply as the leading edge of a different air mass. In this case, it’s a cold front, so the front represents the front edge of much colder air. That arctic air mass is expected to starting pushing into New Jersey around 7 a.m. tomorrow morning through the rest of the morning hours. As it does, winds will increase to the 15 to 25 mph range, and temperatures will begin to fall sharply. Thermometers will drop from the 30s tomorrow morning into the 20s and Teens this afternoon, and we’ll likely end up with widespread single-digit temperatures by Friday morning.
Storm Early Next Week
At times like this, I’m glad that I only have to publish a daily 5-Day Forecast instead of the now-common 7-day outlook. There is a storm barreling toward New Jersey early next week, in the Sunday to Tuesday time frame. That’s currently 5 to 7 days away which, as I’ve discussed before, is way too early to provide any real details on wintry impacts. Could we see accumulating snow? Sure. A lot of snow? Maybe. Could it just be rain? Yeah. Is there still time for the forecast for this storm to evolve and change significantly? Absolutely. Am I ready to enact “bread and milk panic” yet? No way.
I have particularly low faith in the model output for this storm so far. First, there is little to no agreement between the various forecast models. More importantly, each model is flip-flopping a lot from run to run. And it’s not just in the forecast storm track - there is no resolution on temperatures, wind speeds, dew points, etc. These discrepancies are already manifesting themselves in my 5-Day Forecast - I’ve had to put high temperature forecast ranges of 10+ degrees this weekend… this is the first time in my NJ101.5 tenure that I’ve had have ranges that wide.
Therefore, I am very uncomfortable giving any details about next week’s storm just yet. I could give you a variety of possible scenarios and solutions for this forecast, but I don’t have enough confidence in any particular one to do that right now. Bottom line, just keep in mind that Sunday, Monday, and/or Tuesday will be potentially snowy. Patience is key right now; hopefully we’ll have a better idea of this forecast by tomorrow and Friday.