Windy and turning colder across New Jersey Wednesday
Tumbling temperatures will lead to some chilly early March days for the Garden State, setting the stage for some light accumulating snow by the end of the week.
Here are your weather headlines for Wednesday, March 2, 2016...
Reminder: It's Still Winter!
It has been a wet and warm start to Wednesday, with rain and 50+ degree temperatures pushing through the Garden State. However, some big changes are on the way, as a chilly wind takes over for the rest of the day.
The rain will end by around 8 a.m. across New Jersey. The ensuing cold front will increase winds dramatically. Sustained winds will blow at about 20 to 30 mph for most of the day, with wind gusts as high as 45 mph. This west-northwest wind will carry colder air into the Garden State, and so temperatures will fall throughout the day. By sunset Wednesday (just before 6 p.m.), thermometers will likely have fallen to about the 40-degree mark. Meanwhile, skies will become sunny and winds will lighten through Wednesday afternoon.
This new cold air mass will lead to a very cold night, with low temperatures falling to the lower to mid 20s by Thursday morning. Additionally, enough of a breeze (10 to 20 mph) will continue overnight to push the wind chill into the teens for most of the state. (Remember wind chill? It's been a while!) The coldest, windiest spots in New Jersey may very well experience single digit wind chills. Ouch!
Thursday will be chilly but otherwise uneventful. High temperatures will be limited to the mid to upper 30s, with increasing clouds and lighter winds.
We continue to closely monitor a storm system for the Thursday night to Friday time frame. Now that we're within 48 hours of precipitation onset, the forecast is becoming clearer. And confidence is growing that New Jersey will most likely see light snow accumulations by midday Friday.
Models have come to better agreement over the timing and impacts of this system. As a whole, it appears the northern extent of precipitation has jogged to the north. While we will not see the strongest precipitation from this storm (that will happen south of NJ), we will be in the snow band for several hours.
Our first snowflakes should fall sometime between 8 p.m. Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday, continuing through at least Noon on Friday. As the storm system swings out to sea, and as afternoon temperatures rise above freezing, we'll probably see a transition to light wintry mix and/or rain along the Jersey Shore through about 5 p.m. Friday.
As for accumulations, I think it is appropriate to forecast a widespread 1" of snow accumulation across New Jersey by midday Friday. Would I be surprised to see a few spots with over 2" of snow? Nope. Would I be surprised if part (or most) of New Jersey sees only a coating of snow? Nope. Most of that snow accumulation will occur on grassy and colder non-asphalt surfaces.
So, this is going to be a minor snowstorm for the Garden State. An inch of snow is hardly anything to write home about, and certainly does not require a run to the grocery store for "bread and milk". Schools and businesses will probably stay open Friday. Roads will be mostly fine, as long as crews stay ahead of the storm's snow and ice and as long as drivers exercise extra caution.
By the weekend, we'll be ready for some warmer temperatures. Saturday stays chilly, with highs still only around 40 degrees. Sunday's highs improve to the mid 40s with partly sunny skies and pleasant, light winds.
The warming trend continues through the early and middle of next week. I'm ready to jump on the bandwagon with a 70-degree forecast for Wednesday and Thursday - yes, 70! Next week could bring the warmest air New Jersey has seen since our record-breaking Christmas Eve.
Our next storm system of any significance should hold off until about next Friday.