Storm update: Calmer skies Thursday night, still somewhat wintry through Friday
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For the latest winter storm forecast information, please refer to my newest weather blog post.
Holy guacamole, what a weird freakin' storm. A little bit of everything fell from the sky Thursday. Sometimes all at once! As expected, snow arrived Thursday morning, falling fast and furious. This time around, it was Central Jersey's turn to see the thumpingly heavy snow bands and the biggest totals. Over 8 inches of snow accumulated along and just north of the Interstate 195 corridor.
Farther south, sleet and rain won out for most of the day. Farther north, snow has been lighter and spottier.
I can't wait to see the final totals to see how the big picture really shook out. My only meteorological regret here is not sticking to my guns on the 6-10" forecast for northern and central NJ. Between the pouring snow and the sleet factor, this really was a toughie. Both to forecast and drive through.
The moment we've been waiting for has arrived — the heaviest precipitation bands are now officially behind us!
Radar continues to show scattered snow and wintry mix around the state Thursday afternoon. Dramatic improvements to our weather will continue to take shape through Thursday evening and the overnight hours. Welcome to the big lull.
But Not Done Yet
A few days ago, I laid out four "phases" to describe this storm's evolution. The first was the heavy onset Thursday morning. The second was the icy mix through the middle of the day. Now, third, things are calming down. And fourth is continued light wintry mix through most of the day Friday.
Our winter warnings and advisories continue through at least part of Friday. (I'm not going to run down the exact end times, as they are subject to change.)
Let me be crystal clear: Friday will not be as challenging or treacherous as Thursday. But there is a chance we see some bands of "moderate" snowfall develop during the daytime hours. That would reduce visibility, and possibly lead to some slushy or icy conditions. (Especially if it's more sleet or freezing rain than straight snow.)
Final flakes in the state won't happen until Friday evening — probably 8 p.m. at the latest.
How Much More Snow/Ice?
Even though our weather will generally look and feel wintry for another 24 hours, additional snow and ice accumulations will be limited.
I could see another inch or two of snow, and/or a few hundredths of an inch of ice. Especially if a heavier band sets up on Thursday as I mentioned. (As you may know, I do not redraw or reissue snow forecast maps in the middle of a storm — they're too confusing to make, and too confusing to interpret accurately.)
But that is it — what's on the ground now will be pretty close to our final total.
Have you noticed the overall lack of wind (and power outages) Thursday? The northeasterly flow has been relatively light, so we're seeing a huge surge of ocean water toward the Jersey Shore. Having said that, up to a foot of extra water could cause minor flooding problems along vulnerable tidal waterways. That will be true for the Thursday evening, Friday morning, and Friday evening high tide cycles. Not a huge concern, but worth watching.
Brighter Skies Ahead
I'm still loving the forecast for the weekend! It will be cold, with morning lows potentially in the teens and afternoon highs only reaching the mid 30s. But bright sunshine and dry weather? Boom.
Our next storm system on Monday will be a fast-moving clipper system. It will probably produce some light snow accumulations (up to 2 inches) in northern and western New Jersey. Farther south, it'll be just rain.
At least our onslaught of seven significant winter storms in a row is almost over. A generally quiet weather pattern will take hold through next week. More seasonable temperatures, in the 40s (at least). And only a few minor storm systems we'll have to track too.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.