Deep freeze: NJ faces the coldest temperatures in almost three years
The Bottom Line
Yeah, yeah. Don't give me any of that "it's winter, it's supposed to be coat" nonsense. This is pretty extreme, and potentially dangerous. You know you'll be reaching for the heavy coat and extra blankets this week too.
A few shivery statistics regarding this week's cold snap:
--Wind chills Tuesday morning may end up around zero. That's on the edge of "dangerous cold".
--With high temperatures only in the lower 20s on Tuesday, it could be New Jersey's coldest day in almost three years, since February 1, 2019.
--Temperatures will run almost 20 degrees below normal.
--We'll spend 36+ hours below freezing. (Anything icy will stay icy. And anything left in your car will freeze too.)
The one piece of good news: By definition, very cold air is very dry air. And the dominant storm track will shift far to our south. So this is a quiet, storm-free forecast - a stark difference from the four blasts of snow/ice that blew through New Jersey last week.
As I write this blog entry, I'm listening to the cold wind blow outside my window. While temperatures were close to 40 just after Midnight, thermometers have begun to tumble as cold air arrives.
By Monday afternoon, I expect temperatures to settle around the freezing mark, in the lower 30s. You'll have to contend with a brisk northwest wind throughout the day, occasionally gusting over 20 mph. At least skies will be dry and bright, mostly to partly sunny.
There is a chance those winds blow in a snow shower or flurry, especially in the late afternoon or evening hours.
Tonight is going to be very cold, with widespread teens across New Jersey. (Probably some temperatures in the single digits to the northwest.) Add the continuing biting breeze, and the wind chill (the "feels like" or "apparent" temperature) will dip to near zero. Bundle the heck up!
Tuesday will be "the bottom of the barrel" of this particular cold snap. Highs only in the lower 20s. Wind chills stuck in the single digits all day. Ouch.
But again, let's try to find the "bright" side of the forecast. It will be bright and dry. (Chap-stick-ingly dry, that is.)
A little better. We'll have one more round of teens Wednesday morning. And then slightly warmer air will surge from the southwest during the day. Highs should end up closer to 40 degrees. Early sun will turn to late-day clouds.
The warmest day of the week - woohoo! The cold air loosens its grip on our atmosphere just enough to allow highs on Thursday to pop into the lower to mid 40s - slightly above normal, at least temporarily. It will be dry, but skies will probably become mostly cloudy. (You'll still catch some filtered sunshine along the way.)
The Extended Forecast
As I mentioned, the one big thing missing from this forecast is the threat of snow, ice, and/or rain.
There had been hype surrounding one or two storm systems this weekend. But there's really nothing developing at this time. Model guidance is in good agreement that a system late Thursday into early Friday will be too far off-shore. And then the next one late Saturday dives too far south of NJ.
Of course, any storm threat is worth watching this time of year. So if anything does churn up, I'll make sure you'll be among the first to know.
One thing seems clear, looking at long-range models. The unseasonable chill is here to stay for a while. Possibly through the rest of the month.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.