NJ snow start running late, but Saturday will still be wintry
We're holding steady on the snow accumulation forecast, calling for light to moderate snow across New Jersey throughout the day Saturday.
GOOD MORNING: Oh, the meteorological anxiety. I woke up early Saturday morning to find an alarmingly blank radar and a very not-white scene outside. Where's the snow, Dan?! Well, it turns out our atmosphere is ridiculously dry right now, both at the surface and especially just above the surface. (Unless you have a humidifier in your bedroom, I bet you woke up with a ridiculously dry mouth this morning.) As our storm system pushes in, it will rapidly moisten up the column of air over the Garden State, making widespread snow possible. Since my early morning heartbreak, radar has filled in nicely. Don't bash the weatherman yet, folks — I remain confident the snow is on the way.
SO FAR: The National Weather Service issued a statement early Saturday, showing Green Creek (Cape May County) had received 2.8 inches of accumulation overnight. Parts of Delaware have already seen 7 inches of snow.
TIMING: Shift the entire timeline of the storm forward by about 3 to 4 hours. That means the peak snowfall will occur from late morning through early afternoon Saturday. It also means snowfall will not taper off to snow showers until late evening. Increasing sunshine is still expected by Sunday morning, with unseasonably cold temperatures here to stay for some time to come.
SNOWFALL: I opted to hold steady on my accumulation forecast: 3 inches across most of the state, with a bit more to the south and a bit less to the northwest. (Those who hyped 10-inch snowfall from this storm are going to be very disappointed.)
HESITATIONS: Having said that, I have three areas of concern regarding my going forecast: 1.) Given the snow that fell overnight in Delaware, I hope my forecast is high enough in the "sweet spot" of interior South Jersey. 2.) As of this writing, Southern Cape May County is showing all rain, which could impact overall snow totals. 3.) Models have been trending less snowy for the swatch from Monmouth to Bergen, and over to NYC and Long Island.
WARNINGS: A Winter Storm Warning continues for counties along and south of Interstate 195 until 1 a.m. Sunday. A less-severe Winter Weather Advisory continues for the northern half of New Jersey and most of the coast until 1 a.m. Sunday.
STILL NOT A MAJOR STORM: I've maintained all week (both before and after the radical forecast track shift on Thursday) that this won't be a "major" (or "bread and milk") kind of storm. That's mainly because of snow totals falling in the light to moderate categories. But I think it's also a good idea to proclaim what this storm will not bring to New Jersey. No coastal flooding. No beach erosion. Little to no icing. Few to no power outages. No ferocious winter winds (it will be breezy though). No extreme cold (it will be chilly though).
IMPACTS: it's all about the travel. Road conditions will deteriorate from late morning through Saturday afternoon, during the peak of the storm. Visibility will be low. Traction may become a problem, but it's not a guarantee — pretreated surfaces may very well stay "wet" instead of "icy", and even untreated streets and sidewalks will experience much lighter snow accumulation than grass, cars, roofs, etc.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I offer my usual advice to stay smart and stay safe during this first accumulating snowfall event of the season. Unless the situation changes dramatically, this will be my last weather blog post until Tuesday morning (I have an already scheduled day off Monday). In the meantime, be sure to follow me and the station on social media for regular updates.