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A bit messy this weekend: Light, scattered snow/rain possible

Most of the Garden State will see little to no snow this weekend, but a few inches may accumulate in North Jersey.

Weekend Snow Rain Showers 20170318

Since this weekend’s clipper system showed up on our radar, I’ve been unimpressed. (Especially in comparison to the other two snow storms that have brought snow to New Jersey over the past week and a half.) We can safely downplay the wintry weather impacts even more now, thanks to a combination of above-freezing temperatures, limited atmospheric moisture, and minimal forcing for heavy precipitation.

Still, it’s going to be a sloppy Saturday and potentially icy start to Sunday.

This is a clipper system — an area of low pressure of continental (i.e. over land) origin. Such systems generally sweep across the northern border of the United States and through the Great Lakes, before impacting the Northeast states. They generally tend to be on the weaker side, especially compared to systems that follow the big, bad, moisture-rich nor’easter storm track. This one is no different.

Live radar (Blue=snow, Green=rain)

Scattered light rain and snow showers will push across New Jersey throughout Saturday. Scattered means the precipitation will be “on and off”. Light means “not heavy”. (Obviously.) And while there could be some snowflakes, sleet pellets, and general icing concerns throughout the day, I really think we’re looking at mostly rain. High temperatures through central and southern New Jersey may very well peak above 40 degrees on Saturday.

However, there are two possibilities for a period of heavier, accumulating snow: 1.) Far North Jersey (especially above Interstate 80), and 2.) Saturday night into early Sunday morning. But even then, most of the state will be limited to an inch or less of fresh snow. The northern third of the state could see upwards of 3 inches of accumulation, especially along the colder hilltops and mountaintops..

We’ll have to watch for spots of freezing rain too. If “liquid” rain falls on a cold, subfreezing surface (such as snow), it can freeze on contact and form a slippery patch of solid ice.

Current advisories from the National Weather Service (Purple=Winter Weather Advisory)

I thought the National Weather Service would blanket all of North Jersey with a Winter Weather Advisory. But they appropriately limited the scope to the higher elevations of NW NJ: Morris, Sussex, and Warren counties. That advisory is in effect until early Sunday morning, and serves as a “heads up” to potentially difficult travel conditions.

So watch out for wet spots and icy spots, and maybe a blanket of light snow by Sunday morning. Otherwise, carry on — and look forward to the official start of Spring on Monday!

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.

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