NJ midweek snow update: It’s a dud
The Bottom Line
The latest model guidance is in, and we finally have resolution on the forecast for Wednesday's storm system. Temperatures have trended slightly warmer. The storm track has drifted farther east — that is the out-to-sea direction. So yes, confidence is now reasonably high that our midweek "storm" will really fall into the "not a big deal" category. Much of the state could stay completely dry. So, as I'll outline further below, accumulations and travel impacts will be very limited.
However, I can think of at least three reasons why it is still important to stay alert about Wednesday's little taste of winter:
1.) If it becomes our first "real" accumulating snow of the season, it automatically becomes notable.
2.) It is a daytime event, centered between the morning and evening commutes. Unfortunate timing for slippery spots and reduced visibility.
3.) Too many New Jersey drivers are terrible when it's sunny and dry, nevermind flurrying and freezing cold.
4.) I do have to keep the potential for "overperformance" in mind — even an inch-plus of snow accumulation could snarl traffic and make for a wintry day.
After a night of rain and ferocious wind, all semblance of warmth has been zapped from our atmosphere. Yes, it's back to the cold side of the atmosphere.
We're waking up to chilly 30s across the state on this Tuesday morning. Mainly just above the freezing mark. High temperatures will be limited to the lower to mid 40s Tuesday afternoon. That is about 5 degrees below normal for early December.
Skies will progress from partly sunny to mostly cloudy, with a light breeze blowing out of the west. You may encounter a few flurries along the way.
Tuesday night looks pretty cold too, with lows mainly in the 20s. Increasing clouds could yield some light snow showers after Midnight.
Apologies to snow lovers — you'll have to keep your expectations pretty low for Wednesday's almost-non-event. But don't worry, it's not even officially Winter yet!
Baseline, no matter where in the state you are, and no matter what (if anything) falls from the sky, it is going to be a cloudy and unseasonably cold December day. High temperatures will climb no higher than 35 to 40 degrees.
A chance for light snow will exist between about mid-morning and mid-afternoon on Wednesday.
But not everyone in New Jersey will even see snowflakes here. There are two corners of the state that I'll be watching for a potential "healthy coating" (up to an inch of accumulation):
1.) Inland South Jersey, which will be closest to the storm system's center. One quick band of moderate snow could quickly "whiten up" the ground. (Along the immediate coast — i.e. east of the Garden State Parkway — 40+ degree temperatures may cause snow to mix with rain.)
2.) North Jersey, which should stay cold for the duration. Prolonged snow showers will immediately stick.
And that's it! Outside of those two pieces of NJ, it is wholly possible that you don't see a single flake or drop.
No wind. No icy mix. No blizzard conditions. Just a little taste of winter. Conversational snow.
There could be some slippery spots and reduced visibility at times — quite inconvenient in the middle of the day. But I do not anticipate any significant travel issues. (It needs to be said: This is not a #Brinegate setup.)
Wednesday night will be breezy and cold, with lows again probably hitting 20s.
Back to quiet, dry weather all around. With a mix of sun and clouds, temperatures will only reach the lower 40s or so.
The next next storm system in line will be a weak wave associated with a warm front, arriving in the early morning hours of Friday. Most of New Jersey will see some rain showers. But it might be cold enough for some wintry mix and maybe even some slick spots in North Jersey. The timeline is very limited though — by mid-morning, we should dry out.
Of course, that warm front will also push temperatures upward on Friday, especially for the bottom half of the state. Mid 40s north, mid 50s south. The sky might stay a bit cloudy and murky, but the chill reduction will be nice.
The Weekend & Beyond
In the heart of the holiday season, there's a ton of activities and merriment going on. And this weekend is going to feature a wide variety of weather conditions. In a word: Active. And that's half good news and half bad news.
Saturday will feature another burst of warmth, as widespread 60s return to New Jersey. Most of the day looks fine, mostly cloudy, light winds, dry.
But Saturday night into Sunday morning, another strong cold front will put an abrupt end to the warmth with wind and a temperature tumble. I am a bit concerned that the tail-end of that precipitation on Sunday could fall as snow. The fourth storm system "worth watching" in the span of a week.
By Sunday afternoon, temperatures will be mainly stuck in the 40s again.
The long-range forecast for next week looks absolutely silent. High pressure will hopefully keep our weather dry, bright, and seasonable for pretty much all of next week.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.