Brisk wind brings back February chill, snow possible next week
I have David Bowie's Changes stuck in my head this morning. Our weather is about to make a huge about-face, transitioning from six consecutive days of mild temperatures to much more February-ish weather. That means cold, wind, and snow are in the forecast.
Turn and face the strange... Here's what to expect...
Friday: Cooldown Day
--Early Friday morning, we're seeing scattered rain (mainly North Jersey) and some patchy dense fog (thickest along the Jersey Shore). Temperatures are in the 40s.
--Late Friday morning, a brisk wind will arrive, gusting as high as 40 mph. We'll reach our high temperature around lunchtime, in the 50s.
--Friday afternoon, skies will clear and colder air "whooshes" in, thanks to the continuing gusty wind. Temperatures will tumble through the 40s.
--Friday evening, around sunset, thermometers will fall into the 30s.
--Friday night to Saturday morning, it's going to feel fairly frigid. Overnight low temperatures are expected to bottom out in the lower 20s. The wind chill will range from about 5 to 15 degrees.
A February-ish Weekend
--Saturday will remain blustery, with wind gusts to about 30 mph. Despite sunshine, high temperatures will be limited to the mid 30s. That is about 5 degrees below normal for early February. The brisk wind will, of course, make it feel even colder.
--Sunday morning will feature calmer winds, but that will allow for even colder temperatures. I'm thinking widespread teens are likely.
--Sunday daytime reads like a typical February day. Increasing clouds, light winds, and highs in the upper 30s.
A Little Bit of Snow
Our next storm system is set to arrive from late Sunday night to early Monday morning. A fast-moving clipper system, it could bring a bit of snow to New Jersey by the time you wake up Monday.
The latest GFS model notably shows this system falling apart, presumably due to our cold, very dry air mass. Other models are ramping up the wintry potential with some moderate snow (maybe mix/rain in far southern NJ). A common theme seems to be a swath of 2 to 3 inch accumulations around central/southern New Jersey. I've opted for a middle-ground "inch or two possible" forecast, vowing to have another look and update the forecast as we get closer.
While not a major storm, the timing is concerning, as it could have impacts on Monday morning's rush hour. Also, the forecast does not call for enough snow to produce a formal snow map (widespread 2+ inches), but it's possible we have to go there over the weekend. Stay tuned.
Heads Up: Messier Wintry Weather
A batch of even messier winter weather looks to pass through New Jersey between Monday night and Wednesday morning. As usual, I'm casting a large time window here — but we're really eyeing Tuesday as getting particularly sloppy.
This winter, the word messy has come to imply "unknown, yet potentially significant travel impacts". And that's exactly where we stand here. This storm system caught my eye earlier in the week, and I said even then it deserved watching. We're still 96 hours away from the storm's peak, way too early to present a specific confident forecast.
Let me lay out four possible scenarios:
--Best... We end up on the warm side of the storm system, so it dumps mostly or all rain on top of New Jersey. A familiar story from this winter so far.
--Most Likely... A quick burst of snow Monday night into Tuesday morning, followed by rising temperatures and a transition to all rain by Tuesday evening. We could still see some snow accumulation before the changeover, on the order of 1-2" in South Jersey and 2-4" in North Jersey.
--Worse... If temperatures trend colder and snow lingers longer, I believe we could see some healthy 6-10" snow totals.
--Worst... In addition to the snow threat, the perfect temperature setup could lead to an extended period of freezing rain. Way nastier and more slippery than snow, freezing rain creates a solid sheet of ice. Zero traction would lead to major traffic difficulties, and possibly some power outages too.
We'll further nail down which of these scenario(s) looks most likely throughout the weekend. We'll also get more a more precise sense of the geography and timing too — the start time, the end time, and transition times from snow to mix to rain.
Have a great weekend! Stay warm!