Rain to snow to wind: What to expect across NJ Monday night and Tuesday
UPDATE... This article is outdated...
For the latest storm forecast information, please refer to my newest weather blog post.
❄ This is still a powerful storm system, and a complicated situation. Someone northeast of New Jersey will see over two feet of snow.
❄ This will be New Jersey's 8th two-inch snow event of the winter season. The 4th in a span of just three weeks.
❄ Last-minute model guidance latched onto a slightly eastward jog in the storm track. Along with slightly warmer temperatures - above freezing, as advertised. It warrants a decrease in NJ's snow forecast.
❄ Focus on the impacts, not the numbers. Monday night into Tuesday is going to become wintry and treacherous in far northern New Jersey, especially above Interstate 80.
❄ Meanwhile, south of the I-78 corridor, there will probably be snowflakes flying around. But little to no accumulation is expected.
❄ Wind advisories and coastal flood advisories have been issued for part of the state.
Monday has been a disgustingly soggy day so far. And conditions will stay damp and dreary as evening falls.
As of this writing, temperatures are in the 40s across most of the state. Way above freezing. Eventually, cold air will leak in. And eventually, temperatures will drop enough Monday night for a transition from rain to snow.
The flip may happen in NW NJ slightly earlier than originally thought. Let's call it 8 p.m. at the earliest, just after sunset Monday evening. Closer to the coast, snowflakes are unlikely until closer to sunrise Tuesday morning.
But there is another issue at play. The newest storm track puts an even more prominent intrusion of dry air over southern and central New Jersey Monday night, shutting off the rain/snow faucet for most of the state overnight.
So for most, we are only looking at occasional snow showers throughout Tuesday. Heavier, steadier stuff will persist to the north and east only. We will especially have to watch for a surging snow band around midday Tuesday, as the area of low pressure rotates around itself. Again, primarily a North Jersey concern.
Although a few snowflakes may linger into Tuesday evening, we should be done with accumulations and travel issues by sunset.
I am still keeping the possibility of "heavy" or "major" or "significant" snowfall along the northern edge of the state. It's going to be very close.
As I have previously said, all the atmospheric challenges will really limit snowfall potential south of about the Interstate 78 corridor. An imperfect storm track. Dry air. Above freezing temperatures.
Sorry South Jersey, this is another missed snow storm opportunity for you. I think anyone in the state could see snowflakes at some point Tuesday. But don't necessarily expect them to stick, especially to roadway surfaces.
As the storm ramps up Monday night, northeasterly wind gusts may touch 30 mph. Then, as winds turn northwesterly Tuesday morning, the pressure gradient force will spark even higher gusts. On the order of 40 to 50 mph through Tuesday daytime, Tuesday night, and possibly Wednesday too.
We have really pulled back the reins on the coastal flooding threat. Especially since the highest winds will come from the northwest (land breeze) after the storm, rather than the east-northeast (sea breeze) during the storm.
High tide early Tuesday morning is expected to be about 1 to 2 feet higher than usual, prompting alerts for minor coastal flooding.
Big waves will batter Jersey Shore beaches too, potentially on the order of 6 to 8 feet. Typical of just about every coastal storm system, beach erosion is a possibility. Not ideal, with Spring coming up in a week and Memorial Day only 11 weeks away.
A Winter Storm Warning goes into effect at 6 p.m. Monday and continues until 6 p.m. Tuesday, for Morris, Sussex, and Warren counties. A Winter Storm Warning runs from 10 p.m. Monday until 6 a.m. Wednesday for western Passaic county. (Still confused by that late expiration time.) In this area, 6+ inches of snow accumulation could make travel dangerous.
A less urgent, less severe Winter Weather Advisory covers western Bergen and eastern Passaic counties from Midnight Tuesday morning through 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. Here, 3+ inches of snowfall could make travel conditions treacherous. (Note: My snow forecast for northeastern New Jersey is a bit higher than the National Weather Service estimates.)
A Wind Advisory covers approximately the southern half of the state - from Monmouth and Mercer counties on down - from 1 p.m. to Midnight Tuesday. Wind gusts of 40+ mph could cause power outages, and make driving high-profile vehicles difficult.
Finally, a very limited Coastal Flood Advisory for Ocean County only until 6 a.m. cautions of minor category flooding of tidal waterways.
A Word of Caution
Yes, we have pulled back on snow totals in North Jersey. And yes, a potential "bust" is on the table here. But I would not promote 6+ inch snowfall unless there's a legit chance of it happening. And there is a legit chance of such heavy snowfall - only along the northern edge of New Jersey.
Coastal storm systems such as this are subject to last-minute track wiggles, which we will be "nowcasting" throughout Monday night and all day Tuesday. A shift of just 25 miles can make a huge difference in who sees icy, slushy roads and who does not. So everyone needs to stay aware of what the weather is doing on Tuesday. And be as flexible as possible, as things change and evolve.
I have done my best to present an honest, realistic, hype-free storm forecast over the past few days. Now it's time to sit back and see how things progress. Stay smart and be safe, all. And of course, we will continue to keep you updated until the final flakes fly.
Next weather blog update expected by 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.