Nice weekend for NJ, next potential storm’s track still uncertain
Let's quickly cover the mostly quiet, mostly pleasant short-term forecast real quick, before diving into the next winter storm threat looming at the end of the weekend.
Friday morning's temperatures are mostly in the 20s. That's a hard enough freeze to worry about a widespread refreeze, as melt water from Thursday's snow/ice melt turns back into a sheet of solid ice. Watch your step!
The only hiccup in Friday's forecast is a very weak disturbance sliding past New Jersey. That looks to fire off a few isolated snow showers, mainly (but not exclusively) in the northern part of the state. Just a few snowflakes here, no accumulations or travel issues are anticipated.
Otherwise, we'll get more good melt throughout the day Friday, with a mix of sun and clouds and high temperatures between about 40 to 45 degrees. Once again, we'll contend with an occasionally gust wind, as high as 30 mph.
Friday night will be cold, with most of the Garden State again dipping into the 20s under mostly clear skies. Yes, icy spots are again possible Saturday morning. Rinse, later, repeat, watch your step!
Saturday looks like the nicest day of this forecast, with sunshine, a fresh breeze, and seasonable high temperatures. We'll see mid 40s where there's still sufficient snow on the ground (north), while thermometers approach the upper 40s to around 50 degrees with little to no snow still on the ground (south).
During the day Sunday, our weather should stay quiet and reasonably pleasant. We'll see clouds increase overhead, bringing down high temperatures to the mid 40s or so.
Active weather begets active weather. Until we see a significant pattern change, New Jersey remains a popular rest stop on the atmospheric highway of storm systems.
I'm still calling our next snow threat a "potential nor'easter," as there's still great uncertainty surrounding the exact track.
What do we know? An area of low pressure will push through the mid-Atlantic, with the center pushing off-shore somewhere between Virginia and Georgia. Then the forecast gets unusually hazy, as this storm system takes one of three general tracks:
1.) Total Miss: Yup, a "nothing" forecast is absolutely still on the table. No snow, no rain, no coastal impacts. Maybe thick clouds and a brisk wind on Monday.
2.) Glancing Blow: As the storm exits the coast, it barely clips the Garden State. This would lead to some snow — on the order of an inch or two — in South Jersey and along the Jersey Shore. Wind gusts could top 40 mph in this scenario, and I wouldn't rule out another round of minor tidal flooding.
3.) Worst-Case: If the storm makes a hard left turn as it enters the open ocean, following a "classic nor'easter" track up the Atlantic seaboard, it could bring healthy snow, rain, and wind to the New Jersey for the third time this month. By my estimate, the worst case would be 6+ inches of snow accumulation.
I am currently leaning toward a forecast of minor impacts from this storm. There is not a single forecast model that currently depicts the "worst-case scenario," nor anything even close to our last two coastal storms. However, I firmly believe this setup warrants a raised eyebrow — I just don't want any nasty snow surprises as the forecast continues to evolve over the weekend.
The GFS model continues to paint the most aggressive storm track. Actually this morning's run shows a secondary low splitting off below the parent low, sliding into New Jersey from the southwest. Much of New Jersey could see "advisory-level" snow (3 to 6 inches). Kind of a weird solution, honestly.
The GFS Ensemble shows the model is indeed pretty conflicted, with about half the members showing snow and half showing nothing. Lends credence to my "minor impacts" thinking.
The NAM is starting to come into focus — although this short-term, small-scale model is notoriously unreliable at 72 hours. Still, it notably shows only snow or rain showers on Monday, with no expected accumulation.
Tired of snow this month? The Euro model is your friend. The furthest south of all solutions, this would be a total miss for New Jersey. Not a drop of rain, not a drop of snow.
The Euro Ensemble mean is a little further north than the operational Euro. Closer to the Garden State, but still a near-miss.
Finally, the Canadian follows the "glancing blow, minor impacts" scenario I described above.
So, What's the Forecast?
If you held a gun to my head and asked for a more definitive deterministic forecast right now, it would go something like this... Chance of snow showers after 7 p.m. Sunday. Then, periods of light snow and rain throughout Monday, especially across southern and coastal New Jersey. Minor snow accumulations, on the order of an inch or two, would be possible. 40 mph wind gusts and minor coastal flooding also possible. High temperatures between about 35 and 40 degrees.
As I said — minor impacts, nuisance snow, no big deal — for now.
When will we know more? I'm not sure. Model solutions are still so wildly different, I'm not confident they'll converge on a complete consensus forecast until the very last-minute. We'll keep you updated on the latest forecast info, both on-air and online, throughout the weekend.