Sunday-Monday winter storm update: Up to 8 inches of snow for NJ
Here you go, hot off the presses, my latest thinking for our next winter storm.
I'm not going to ramble on with lots of fine detail in this blog post. If you crave more details about the storm's timeline, coastal impacts, and forecast confidence, I recommend my Saturday morning weather blog entry for additional insight...
What Changed? Still the same main idea with this storm's forecast — significant snow is possible to the north, less so to the south. After studying model data all day, and examining the results of Saturday morning's snowfall, I adjusted my contours accordingly. I also fiddled with the numbers to better fit my sense of the potential maximum and minimum snowfall for each segment of the state.
Timeline? No changes here, just some refinements to the timing. First raindrops and snowflakes will spread from southwest to northeast between about 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday. The peak of the storm will occur shortly after onset, through Sunday evening until about 2 a.m. Monday. Precipitation will taper off from west to east between about 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. Yes, depending how quickly crews can tend to the roads, the Monday morning commute will be impacted by snowy, icy conditions.
The Snow Sector? The area of North Jersey containing Bergen, Essex, Hudson Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties will experience the most snow from this storm. I believe 4 inches is a safe bet for the minimum potential snowfall in this area. However, heavier inch-an-hour snow bands are likely, which will rapidly push some totals closer to 8 inches. I am not yet confident enough on the precise location of this mesoscale banding to separate the orange region into 4-6" and 6-8" sections. And I also wouldn't rule out a few snow totals over 8" — major snow — but I don't believe we're going to see widespread amounts that high.
The Mixing Mess? The stripe of central and southwestern New Jersey containing northern Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Monmouth, northern Ocean, and Salem counties will experience a wide variety of weather conditions from this storm. What may be rain at onset Sunday afternoon will progress to snow, then back to wintry mix (mainly sleet), and then possibly briefly back to snow by early Monday morning. The timing and duration of these transitions obviously makes pinpointing accumulations very challenging — this is the lowest confidence part of this forecast. My gut tells me 3 inches (give or take an inch) is a good estimate here.
The Rain Region? For once this winter, New Jersey's south coast will not experience the most snowfall in the state! Atlantic, Cape May, and Cumberland counties, this ain't your storm. Having said that, there could be a brief period of snow at the very beginning or (more likely) very end of the storm. That's why I've kept the potential for an inch or two of snow alive for far South Jersey. Roads may even be slushy come Monday morning.
Winter Storm Watch? On Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service expanded their Winter Storm Watch to now include 18 of New Jersey's 21 counties — all but the southern coast. I am a little puzzled by that decision, as a watch-warning means 5 to 7+ inches of snow is in the forecast — that is certainly not expected to happen south of Interstate 195. I am assuming such a watch offers the opportunity to address the snow and ice potential throughout the state with enhanced wording and urgency. We'll likely see the watch transform into warnings (north) and advisories (south) sometime Sunday morning.
That'll do it for now. We'll take one more stab at updating this forecast just before the snow starts Sunday afternoon. Expect another weather blog article to be posted by Noon Sunday.