NJ winters have been a bit quiet — what about this year?
Compared to a number of winters over the past decade, the last two cold seasons in the Garden State have been relatively quiet in the snowfall department.
In fact, depending on where you live in the state, you may not have had to pick up a shovel since the winter of 2017-18.
But that means absolutely nothing for the winter ahead. Average winter-long snowfall amounts in New Jersey, according to records dating back to 1895, have ranged from as little as 4 inches to as much as nearly 63 inches.
"What a range ... so what's really a normal winter of snowfall in New Jersey?" said David Robinson, state climatologist at Rutgers University.
According to Robinson's records, the yearly winter average for snowfall in the state is about 26 inches. Snowfall amounts are typically greater in the northern segment of the state.
In the winter of 2019-20, the state averaged 4.7 inches of snow. It was the least snowy winter on record for the southern counties. The average was 20.5 inches in the winter of 2018-19.
New Jersey snowfall was well above average, at 40 inches, for the 2017-18 winter season. The average topped 40 inches during a handful of winters over the past several years, including 2009-2010, when parts of the state saw more than two feet alone delivered by a post-Christmas blizzard.
"Remember that all it takes is one substantial snowstorm to make this a memorable winter season," said Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow.
Looking ahead, Zarrow said it appears that temperatures in the 60s and 70s are behind us for the season. Cold air is moving in for the coldest quarter of the year.
"I am seeing a more 'winter-ish' weather pattern developing in general through mid-December, but there are no significant snowstorms in the forecast for the next 10 days," Zarrow said. "Things are still trending toward mainly 'cold rain' for now."
Zarrow, though, is watching a weather system for this weekend that could produce "limited" wintry activity at its tail end on Sunday.
December, in general, hasn't been a snowfall behemoth for New Jersey.
"January and February are our two snowiest months of the winter," Robinson said. "And quite often, March has more snowfall than December."
In the 30 years between 1991 and 2020, the month of January saw an average of 7.3 inches of snowfall, according to Robinson's records. February's average was 8.5 inches, followed by March at 4.6 inches, and December at 4.4 inches.
During an average winter, Robinson said, about 20% to 25% of precipitation falls as snow in New Jersey.
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