Tuesday NJ weather: Temperatures nosedive, rain flips to flakes
SNOW. Panic! Run for the hills! Bread and milk!
Ummmmm, or not. The snow hysteria for Tuesday's cold front is just mind-boggling. If you've been following our forecasts this week, you know today's storm system is not going to be all that snowy or messy for New Jersey. First snowflakes of the year? Sure. Slippery spots and reduced visibility? Yeah. Light snow/slush accumulations? Perhaps.
Cold enough to freeze your Winnebago? Most definitely. (Cheers if you got the A Muppet Family Christmas reference there.)
However, if you're hoping for big snow, you'll just have to wait for another storm.
As of this writing 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, rain has started to push in to western New Jersey. Yes, just rain so far. Temperatures are in the 50s across most of the state. Higher elevations of North Jersey are starting out in the cooler 30s — an important element in this dynamic rain-to-snow forecast.
As a strong cold front slides across the state Tuesday, we'll see a transition from rain to snow and the introduction of a very cold, dry air mass. Easily our coldest air of the season so far.
Here's one more quick rundown of how this changing weather will play out:
1.) Rain arrives between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Tuesday, from west to east.
2.) As cold front arrives with arctic air, temperatures plummet with a brisk (30+ mph) wind. We will fall below freezing between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., from northwest to southeast.
3.) A brief changeover to wintry mix or snow is likely statewide from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., from northwest to southeast.
4.) Precipitation ends completely between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., from northwest to southeast.
My only concern with Tuesday's forecast as it stands is the late-breaking addition of a little impulse riding along the cold front Tuesday afternoon. If it comes to fruition, we could see a period of heavier precipitation in South Jersey. Depending on the exact timing, that could lead to enhanced snowfall. Again, not a guarantee, but something we'll have to watch and "nowcast" for accordingly.
Snowfall totals will be meager, at best. Soil temperatures are still well above freezing, in the 40s. Dry air will limit the amount of precipitation that falls from the sky, post frontal passage. I'll still say that a dusting or coating of accumulation is possible on grassy surfaces. Paved surfaces will probably remain too wet and too warm for snow to stick.
The bigger weather headline will be the big cooldown. It's going to hard to dress appropriately, as thermometers nosedive from the 50s in the morning into the 30s by Tuesday afternoon. A flash freeze is a possibility too, as any wet surfaces rapidly ice over into Tuesday evening.
And, of course, Tuesday night will get even colder. With clear skies and a continuing breeze, I'm forecasting low temperatures dip to about 20 degrees. Record lows are in trouble. (24 at Newark, 22 at New Brunswick, 22 at Atlantic City.)
Any little breeze will push the wind chill ("feels like" temperature) into the single digits overnight. Dangerous cold? Not quite. Bitter, unseasonable, and uncomfortable? Oh, yes.
Wednesday will be frigid, with high temperatures only in the lower 30s. Part of the state will be stuck below freezing all day. Those temps are about 25 degrees below normal for mid-November. Hey, at least it will be a sunny and (very) dry day.
The wind finally dies down Wednesday night, but it will still be quite cold. We'll once again bottom out near 20.
Thursday looks better, as high temps improve to the mid 40s. Clouds will be on the increase, but I'm showing another dry weather day.
There are hints of a rain shower early Friday. But I've opted to keep it out of my on-air forecast for now. (Bigger fish to fry with Tuesday's mess.) The day will be mostly cloudy and breezy, with highs near 50 degrees.
Models are hinting at a coastal storm coming close to the Jersey Shore this weekend. Close enough to produce increased clouds and drag down from colder air from the north — highs will be limited to the 30s on Saturday, and 40s on Sunday. That system may close enough to pop some rain showers along NJ's coast on Sunday. But hopefully not close enough to produce big rain, snow, or wind. It'll be the next "thing to watch".
Stay dry, stay warm, and stay safe out there!