NJ’s next two storm systems: Mainly rain, and a close call
The Bottom Line
The center of our nasty nor'easter is less than 200 miles away from New Jersey. And our atmosphere will stay somewhat unsettled Wednesday, with clouds, snow showers, and below-normal temperatures. There are three big stories in the forecast here: 1.) a (mainly) rainmaker storm system on Friday, 2.) a near-miss coastal storm on Sunday, and 3.) an arctic blast next week.
I was surprised to wake up and find it was still snowing in New Jersey. After about 66 consecutive hours of something falling from the sky, we do have improvements on the way Wednesday. Let the big melt begin!
The early morning batch of light to moderate snow did put a fresh coating on the ground in spots. On my ride to work, I even found the shoulders of treated roadways snow-covered. Combined with a hard freeze causing puddles and slush to refreeze, you'll have to be especially vigilant for slippy spots early Wednesday morning.
That band of steady snow has moved out, and we're left with flurries and light snow showers. We'll continue to see occasional snowflakes on Wednesday through the afternoon.
Meanwhile, clouds will win the sky for another day. But I am optimistic we'll catch some peeks of sun at some point. It will be breezy, blowing out of the northwest at 10 to 20 mph. High temperatures will be limited to the mid 30s — above-freezing, but below-normal.
I'm happy to say that the coastal flooding threat is practically over too. Barnegat Bay is still running a bit high (less than a foot), so especially vulnerable spots could see some water inundation at Wednesday's midday high tide.
Wednesday night, skies will finally clear out. And it will be cold again, with lows in the mid 20s. Watch your stpe.
The makings of a pretty pleasant early February day. We'll find ourselves in a quiet slice of the atmosphere. Look for sunny skies and temperatures on either side of 40 degrees.
Our next storm system will arrive on Friday. And this one will carry some warm air into the Garden State, so it's going to be primarily a rainmaker.
The only exception will be onset, in northern and western New Jersey. (Approximately north of I-195 and west of the NJ Turnpike). A few hours of snow are possible Friday morning, potentially leading to a fresh inch or two of snow accumulation. Our latest forecast shows a flip to plain rain by around midday.
It's worth mentioning that one forecast model — the NAM — shows a considerably colder and heavier solution. Raw model output shows upwards of 6" of snowfall in North Jersey. Yikes. It seems to be an outlier solution though, as all other guidance points to much lower wintry impacts. However, if other models trend in that direction, we'll have to explore the possibility of travel impacts after all. (Also, if the timing of this storm system wiggles earlier into the pre-dawn hours, that would lend to a colder and therefore snowier forecast.)
So for most of the state, we'll see a half-inch of plain rain on Friday, with high temperatures mainly in the lower to mid 40s. (Cooler, but still above freezing to the north.). Rain is an incredibly effective snow melter — just watch out for areas of ponding and flooding, as storm drains are blocked by ice and/or overwhelmed by the rainwater and meltwater.
Cooling down again, but we should get a bright and sunny start to the weekend. Seasonable high temperatures will return to about the 40-degree mark. It will be a breezy day too.
There's another coastal storm — a potential nor'easter — in the forecast. Unlike our recent record-breaking winter storm, this one would track as a "Miller Type A" storm, as a powerful storm originates in the Gulf of Mexico and slides up the Atlantic seaboard. As of yesterday, models were hinting at another moderate to major snowstorm for the Northeast.
However, as of Wednesday morning, things have shifted quite a bit. All operational models now show the low pressure kicking east (out to sea) as it passes North Carolina, almost completely missing New Jersey (aside from cloud cover).
So that's where our forecast has landed for now — a near miss. But it's a close call. And I could absolutely see things shifting back in the opposite direciton. So we're not completely out of the woods here, and will keep the system in the "worth watching" category.
The Extended Forecast
Another arctic blast is set to arrive next week. We may have several consecutive days with temperatures stuck below freezing, with frigid nights and bitter wind chills along the way. Joy.
That would, of course, prime the pump for our next storm system to produce wintry weather over New Jersey. Other than what I mentioned above, there's nothing pressing over the next week and a half. But this time of year, we're always scanning the horizon for "the next one".