New Year’s forecast for NJ: Chilly, with spotty snow showers
We'll close out 2016 with seasonably cool temperatures and mostly quiet weather.
Here are your weather headlines for Friday, December 30, 2016...
Thursday's wintry/wet weather event played out about as expected - almost exclusively rain in South Jersey, with accumulating snow in North Jersey. Top snow total 2.9 inches at Wantage, Sussex County. Top "rain" total 0.47 inches, also at Wantage, Sussex County.
How is that possible? The rain gauge at the Wantage weather station has a little heater to melt snow and measure liquid equivalent!
Most rainfall totals ended up between a quarter-inch and half-inch, right on forecast.
Black Ice Alert
Based on my early morning commute, I can attest to the presence of icy spots on the roads this morning. That's from a combination of Thursday's puddles freezing over, in addition to the morning snowfall in North Jersey and the surprise evening snow squall in South Jersey.
Road shoulders, bridges, and overpasses will be the slickest. Keep a tight grip on the steering wheel and watch your step, and you'll do fine.
A Cold Wind
Behind Thursday's precipitation, a brisk west-northwest wind picked up, reintroducing chilly air to New Jersey. That wind will potentially gust over 30 mph during the day Friday, certainly adding a bite to the cold air. With high temperatures in the upper 30s to lower 40s, the wind chill ("feels like" temperature) may be stuck in the 20s for part of the state.
Additionally, that strong wind may carry lake-effect snow showers over New Jersey Friday into Friday evening. Any snow showers or snow squalls will be brief and mostly light, although I wouldn't rule out a quick dusting accumulating on the ground, especially in North Jersey.
The snow shower chance will decrease as winds decrease Friday evening. Skies will generally be mostly clear across New Jersey overnight, as lows dip into the seasonably cold mid 20s.
New Year's Eve
Saturday daytime looks cool and quiet - a good day to take down your Christmas lights, if you're so inclined. (That's what's on my schedule for the day!) We'll have some sun, some clouds, and a stiff breeze to 20 mph. High temperatures will end up in the lower to mid 40s.
As we ring in 2017, midnight temperatures will be in the mid to upper 30s with wind chills in the 20s for most of the state. Meanwhile, weak disturbance/cold front may spark off a few showers sometime between Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Maybe light rain. Most likely light snow. No accumulation or travel troubles are anticipated.
New Year's Day
Aside from that early morning shower chance, Sunday will end up OK. Skies will progress from mostly sunny to mostly cloudy. Temperatures get a little bit warmer for the first day of the year, with highs approaching 50 degrees in South Jersey.
First Storm System of 2017: Just Rain
Our next storm system of significance will play out slowly, with a chance for precipitation from Monday morning through Tuesday evening. Monday's high temperatures will be in the mid 40s, and Tuesday could bump to near 60 degrees in South Jersey. So at this time, this one looks like all rain, with the heaviest falling on Tuesday.
First Weekend of 2017: Cool Your Jets
Social media has exploded over the past day with news of a "major winter storm" setting to strike New Jersey over the first weekend of 2017. Quick, buy all the bread and milk! Run for the hills! Oh wait. It's a 10-day forecast. When was the last time any 10-day weather forecast was accurate? Especially for snow? Ummm...
Seriously, though. On Thursday, both the morning and afternoon runs of the GFS and European models were in good agreement about a respectable storm system sliding up the mid-Atlantic coast in the January 6-8 time frame. Such consensus certainly caused me to raise an eyebrow. I might have audibly say "Huh".
But there isn't a shred of confidence yet regarding potential timing and totals. In fact, both models this morning's push the storm further east - the GFS keeps it completely off-shore.
Something to watch? Absolutely. Something to raise alarm bells about, 10 days in advance? No. We'll talk Tuesday.
Happy New Year!