Jumbo Snow? No Go, Joe. Just a Glancing Blow.

With only about 12 hours to go before our weekend snowflakes are set to arrive, we're still anticipating only a minor snow event for New Jersey. The center of this storm system will pass well south of New Jersey, repelled by our very cold and very dry air mass.

Latest weekend snow forecast, as of Saturday morning.

Following updated model guidance, I nudged the contours on my snow map northward a little bit. No change to the bottom line though — the biggest accumulations in the state will be found in NJ's southern counties. I've settled on a "most likely" forecast range there of 2 to 4 inches. As we've discussed, locally higher amounts are higher (potentially in the 4 to 6 inch range), caused by a heavier snow band, a northward wiggle in the storm track, or a miscalculated snow ratio. Farther north, it should not be much of a winter wonderland across central or northern New Jersey, with snow/ice barely worth writing about.

Snow Timeline

NAM model precipitation type forecast as of 7 a.m. Sunday. As snowfall peaks in South Jersey, flakes begin to fade for the rest of the state. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

A big help in minimizing accumulations and impacts will be how quickly the snow moves through (north and central, at least). Here's the latest approximate timeline:
--8 p.m. Saturday... First snowflakes will arrive in southwestern New Jersey
--11 p.m. Saturday... Most of the state be under light snow through the overnight
--6 a.m. to Noon Sunday... Peak snowfall (and accumulations) will occur early in South Jersey — so the worst travel conditions will be felt just as New Jerseyans are waking up to head to church, work, breakfast, etc.
--Noon Sunday... Snow wrapping up for northern and central NJ.
--5 p.m. Sunday... Snow ends in South Jersey.

Sloppy Travel Possible

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 7 p.m. Saturday through 7 p.m. Sunday for four counties in South Jersey: Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem.

A Winter Weather Advisory has been posted for South Jersey, starting Saturday evening.

No matter where in New Jersey you live, you'll have to be cautious about icy roads and reduced visibility this weekend. Based on the current forecast, I'd call our overall travel impacts moderate in the advisory area of South Jersey, minor between the A.C. Expressway and Interstate 195, and minimal for the northern half of the state. (Major props to our road crews across the state, who have been working hard to proactively pre-treat major roads for several days now. That salt and brine will work wonderfully in this intensity of snow, with temperatures close to the freezing mark.)

You Won't Get Blown Away.

This storm isn't following the track of a typical "nasty nor'easter" or coastal storm, with the center tracking due east along the Virginia-North Carolina border. That puts the Garden State right on the fringe northern edge of the low — I think it's fair to call it a "glancing blow".

Because of the storm's strength and track, wind is not expected to be a problem for NJ. I'm still seeing no stronger than breezy conditions during and after the storm, out of the north-northeast between 10 and 20 mph.

In addition, the lack of a strong on-shore wind (i.e. from the east-northeast) means coastal flooding is also not a concern. Tidal guidance is still showing a slight water rise during Sunday's high tide cycles (late morning and late evening), but it's not enough to even suggest "minor" category flooding. Good.

But It Will Be Cold!

HRRR model temperature forecast for Saturday afternoon. Much of New Jersey may be stuck below freezing all day. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

I have no intention of venturing outside on this Saturday morning — it's frigid out there! (I have to be honest — I'm writing this post from the cozy warmth of my bed.) Our coldest morning since Thanksgiving and Black Friday, temperatures are starting the day in the teens almost everywhere. At least no wind means no bitter wind chill.

With some high temperatures not even popping above the freezing mark Saturday, this January chill will help set the scene for our little taste of winter later on.

And there's not much of a warmup in sight. I'm seeing forecast high temperatures in the lower 30s for Sunday and Monday too. Mid 30s on Tuesday will be somewhat closer to normal. Then we'll catch a break of relatively mild weather on Wednesday in the 40s, before our next cooldown takes hold late-week.

FYI, our next significant storm system worth watching? Next weekend.

Unless something unexpected happens as the storm closes in, my next weather blog update is scheduled for early Sunday morning. Until then, be smart, stay safe, bundle up, and have a great weekend!

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.