Forecast update: Snow tapers, gusty wind and blowing snow still issues
Snowfall will end from west to east across the Garden State through Thursday afternoon, but the entire day will feel wintry.
Well, that escalated quickly. As expected, what began as a bit of snow and mostly rain early Thursday morning quickly morphed into a messy and downright dangerous winter storm as temperatures nosedived. Periods of thundersnow and near-whiteout conditions were observed during the peak of the storm. All but far southern New Jersey has experienced healthy snowfall, with over 6 inches reports across most of North Jersey. And, as of this writing, even though the "brunt" of the storm has passed, the snow continues to fall and accumulate.
Radar continues to show signs of improvement. The heaviest snow bands moved off-shore right on schedule, around 9 a.m. Thursday morning. In addition, clearer skies with much reduced snowfall have been observed just west of New Jersey. That clearing will progress from west to east from Thursday late morning through mid-afternoon.
That means, as of this writing, there will be a few more hours and a few more inches worth of snow to fall, especially along New Jersey's eastern tier of counties.
So, while we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the snow is not done yet. Pack your patience, because roads will remain sloppy through the afternoon.
Furthermore, a cold brisk wind has been blowing all day. That fierce wind is expected to gust as high as 40 or 50 mph this afternoon, particularly across the southern half of New Jersey. Not only will that wind make the day feel even more blustery, but blowing snow will continue to obscure visibilities. Again, travel conditions won't improve much in the coming hours.
Thursday morning's high tide was slightly above flood stage, and I did get sporadic reports of coastal waterways experiencing minor flooding. This can best be described as flooding in the "usual" spots - low-lying roadways that almost always flood during periods of heavy rain or strong storm systems. Thursday evening's high tide cycle is expected to peak lower, so I do not anticipate any additional problems along tidal waterways.
As Thursday night arrives, the combination of clearing skies, snow cover, and cold air will allow temperatures to tumble into the teens. (Maybe even single digits in North Jersey.) Additionally, any little breeze will push the wind chill ("feels like") temperature to near-zero. Brrr, bundle up!
Since we stay below freezing from now through midday Friday (at least), keep in mind that roads will remain icy for Friday morning's commute. Salt treatments will do little to help the situation until temperatures warm and sunshine resumes. I would expect at least a few delayed openings on Friday as crews continue to battle the snow pileup.
Hopefully you were able to hunker down during the storm, most significant snowstorm of the 2016-2017 winter season so far. Stay smart, stay safe, stay warm, and stay tuned for more updates!
More Ocean County Weather: