Meteorologist Dan Zarrow has upped his expected snow totals for what promises to be a messy pre-Thanksgiving travel day.

Zarrow expects precipitation to begin as rain just before daybreak on Wednesday morning and change over to snow as temperatures drop quickly.  "The heaviest stuff will fall from late morning through mid-afternoon.  We'll continue to see snowflakes and raindrops through as late as midnight tomorrow night" before ending early Thursday morning according to Zarrow.

He added that "gusty winds and reduced visibility during heavy rain/snow will also contribute to potential travel problems."

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning  for Wednesday in Sussex, Morris, Warren and Hunterdon counties, as well as Carbon and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania, where the most snow is expected to fall. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for the rest of north and central Jersey  including Somerset, Mercer, Passaic, Essex and Bergen counties. The snow could be wet and knock down branches and wires resulting in some power outages.

Expected accumulations from Wednesday's storm:

  • 8 inches of snow accumulation in far North Jersey (Sussex/Warren counties.)
  • 4 to 8 inches are expected along and north of I-78
  • 2 to 4 inches of snow along I-195.
  • 1 to 2 inches in South Jersey
  • A coating to an inch of accumulation along the immediate shore

AAA is predicting that approximately 1.2 million New Jerseyans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up 4.1 percent from 2013. In fact, Thanksgiving holiday travel volume is expected to reach the highest level since 2007.

New Jersey Fast Traffic's Bob Williams urges you to begin your Thanksgiving travel as early as possible as conditions will quickly deteriorate, noting that people will "be driving in snow for the first time this season."  He suggests not having an expectations on a set arrival at your destination. "When you get there, you get safely there."  Zarrow says those heading for the Poconos, upstate New York and New England should expect snow for much of their trip.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation is ready with 2,600 vehicles statewide. "We've got all of our supplies ready to go, we'll be able to do what we can with the weather and keep those roads clear and safe for the public," said DOT spokesman Steve Shapiro. Roads and facilities maintained by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will be ready as well with extra personnel and equipment ready to go.

PATH will operate trains every 10 minutes on the Journal Square-to-33rd (Hoboken) every 10 minutes all day on Thanksgiving. NJ Transit will be cross-honoring tickets systemwide on Wednesday in anticipation of the snow.

By Thanksgiving, says Zarrow,  the snow will be done falling, but still on the ground.  Thursday and Friday will both be cold with highs only in the lower 40s. By Thanksgiving, the snow will be done falling, but still on the ground.  Thursday and Friday will both be cold with highs only in the lower 40


The ride home on Sunday is "looking good" according to Zarrow.

Jersey Central Power and Light says they are ready for any outages especially those that are wind related. "Our utilities are prepared and staffed today for duty across our service territories to deal quickly with any wind-related system outages," said Steve Strah, vice president of Distribution Support for FirstEnergy's utilities.  "We've mobilized accordingly to minimize the number and length of any outages."

PSE&G spokesperson Brooke Fisher said they've done a number of storm preparedness things over the past couple of years, especially since Superstorm Sandy. "We do have an emergency response center and protocol set up for any incoming storms," she said, adding, "In anticipation of the storm {Nor'easter}, we're ensuring that all available personnel are ready to respond beginning Wednesday morning."

PSE&G also has arranged arranged for trees crews to assist its work force and will have additional supplies, including pulls and transformers, on hand, according to Fisher.

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Dianne DiOliveria, Toniann Antonelli and the Associated Press contributed to this report


Expected snow accumulation map for Wednesday's storm (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media NJ)