One more burst of snow/rain Friday morning, then sunshine emerges
It was about 1 o'clock Thursday afternoon that every meteorologist in the Northeast let out a collective string of obscenities. (Yours truly included, of course.) Thermometers were not warming as quickly as expected. Colder air = less rain + more snow. In some spots, a lot more snow than expected. And you saw the result — a chaotic, nightmarish, hours-long evening commute for thousands of New Jerseyans.
I wholly accept and take responsibility for not considering and communicating the over performance potential of this winter storm. Yes, it snowed a lot more than anticipated. As with every storm, there's a lot to learn and takeaway to make future forecasts better. However, those who claim the forecast was totally "inaccurate" or a total bust clearly was not paying attention. On Monday, I started to promote the likelihood of a complicated mixed bag of wintry conditions on Thursday: snow, sleet, freezing rain, wind, coastal flooding. My timeline for the storm start and end time was practically perfect. My "bottom line" of a terribly messy evening commute was spot on. My final worst-case scenario forecast called for 3 to 6 inches of snow throughout much of North Jersey and a period of freezing rain potentially leading to a solid sheet of ice on the roads. That's certainly a scenario that would have warranted heavy pretreatment of roads statewide. Temperatures were the only undoing of my overall winter storm forecast — one or two degrees literally made all the difference.
Top snow total in the state was 10.2 inches at Montague, Sussex County. About 4 inches more than forecast.
Looking forward, after a lull overnight, we have one more piece of this nor'easter moving through the Garden State Friday morning. As of this writing, temperatures range from around 30 degrees in North Jersey to lower 50s along the Jersey Shore. So our precipitation type is going to be mostly rain to start. However, temperatures only have to crash a few degrees in the northern half of the state to see a transition to wintry mix and/or a period of all snow. (And that's exactly what is happening according to the radar.)
I'm not really concerned about additional accumulations. Slippery roads could become a hazard during the morning commute. Most importantly, heavier snow squalls will dramatically reduce visibility. That is the big concern with this last piece of energy riding through the state.
By around 9 a.m. Friday, the coastal storm will pull out to sea and the inclement weather will come to an end in New Jersey. Skies will quickly clear to sunshine, perhaps as early as 10 a.m. Friday!
Wind has also been a problem overnight. Top wind gust has been 61 mph at Seaside Heights — yikes! I'm starting to see signs the big gusts will subside Friday morning too, although winds will remain somewhat elevated through Friday afternoon.
So after the weather clears, Friday will become sunny, breezy, and cool, with afternoon temperatures generally in the mid 40s (give or take).
Friday night will be nice and quiet. Expect clear skies, calm winds, and chilly temperatures in the lower to mid 30s.
On the whole, the weekend looks OK — we'll just see a continuation of November's perennially below-normal temperatures. Saturday will be mostly sunny, with high temperatures about 45 to 50 degrees. (Normal highs are 55 to 56.)
Clouds will increase on Sunday, with a few snow or rain showers pushing through North Jersey late-day. It will be the cooler day of the weekend, with highs only in the lower to mid 40s.
I'm happy to report there are no significant storm systems between now and Thanksgiving. However, temperatures are expected to yo-yo a bit next week — near 50 on Monday and Tuesday, but only 30s on Wednesday.
Best of luck traveling, shoveling, and/or building a snowman (more like a slush-man) today. Have a great weekend!