NJ’s historic nor’easter rages on: Light snow, wintry mix Tuesday
30+ inches of snow.
The band of heavy snow that set up and just sat over northern and central New Jersey on Monday was nothing short of impressive. The storm was so violently convective, it looked like a thunderstorm on radar. 3+ inch an hour snowfall piled up quickly. And those who were unprepared or skeptic of the power of this storm were surprised in the worst way possible.
I don't call a weather event "historic" unless it truly deserves it. This winter storm's top snowfall total of 30.3" in Sparta, Sussex County is mere inches from the all-time state record snowfall of 34". (From the "Great Blizzard of 1899," recorded in Cape May.)
And… It's still snowing!
What to expect Tuesday
It is going to be another pretty wintry day.
With the center of the powerful coastal storm parked mere miles east of New Jersey, we'll see additional bands of wintry precipitation all day Tuesday. Intensity will be light to occasionally moderate. And temperatures will run a few degrees colder, especially in southern and coastal NJ where mainly rain fell on Monday. So we're really just looking at snow and wintry mix through the morning, afternoon, and early evening hours.
Yes, light accumulations are possible. I'd estimate 1 to 4 inches of additional snowfall between 3 a.m. Tuesday (when I made my daily forecast) and the end of the storm. That could lead to a resurgence of slippery spots, and a bit more to shovel on the ground too.
Wind gusts to 30 mph will make for breezy conditions. And coastal flooding is expected during both Tuesday morning's and Tuesday evening's high tide cycles, in the minor to localized moderate category.
For most of the state, a Winter Storm Warning continues until 4 p.m. Along the Jersey Shore, a Coastal Storm Warning is posted through 5 p.m.
What NOT to expect Tuesday
Heavy snow? Nope.
50+ mph wind gusts? Nope.
Locally major coastal flooding? Nope.
Even though I'm still calling Tuesday a "wintry" day, it does looks generally calmer than Monday.
When will the madness end?
I expect final snowflakes and raindrops to taper off, from west to east, between about 6 p.m. and Midnight.
The sun will come out eventually on Wednesday. I can't rule out a snow shower, but little to no additional accumulation is expected. High temperatures will improve to the mid to upper 30s — so let the snow melt begin! (For North Jersey, it will be the first time in a week the thermometer rises above the freezing mark. Barely.)
Thursday looks like a pretty nice February day. Sunny skies, dry weather, and a light breeze will accompany seasonable temperatures in the lower 40s. With still six weeks to go until the Spring Equionx, we're not going to do much better than that.
Our next storm system is modeled to arrive on Friday. (Don't worry, it's not another nor'easter!). Timing is going to be very important with this storm, as it will cause some warm air advection which will impact precipitation type. I think there's a chance for a quick hit at onset — possible even an inch or two of accumulation. But it primarily looks to be a rainmaker for New Jersey. We'll have a better view of this system once our present nor'easter kicks out to sea.
The next next storm system looks much more impactful. Models are in strong agreement about an arctic front arriving late Sunday. That's going to bring in some ridiculously cold air for next week. The big question, however, is whether an area of low pressure will ride along that front, throwing inclement weather our way. Guidance diverges significantly on the degree of precipitation here — the GFS shows a quick hit of rain, while the Euro shows a more significant snowstorm. Again, let's get past the current coastal storm, and then we'll have better resolution on the future forecast.
One More Note
Today is February 2nd.
Or, as I call it, "Weather Rodent Day".
If you think a furry little critter can forecast the weather better than an experienced, degreed meteorologist… Well, you can just stop reading my blog right now.
(For the record, my historical forecast accuracy is significantly better than any of our local and national groundhogs.)
Having said that, I will use this opportunity to fully admit that my latest winter storm forecast had both big successes and big failures. I'm pleased with how the "geography" of the storm played out — my final impacts map from Monday morning was very close to reality. I am often asked what shocked me about how a storm played out, and this time around there were three surprises:
1.) How fast and hard the storm rolled in Sunday.
2.) How late the southern half of the state changed from sleet/mix/rain back to snow, limiting accumulations there.
3.) The sheer volume of snow that accumulated in North Jersey — near-record 30 inches was never a remote consideration.
I'll do a final county-by-county "post-mortem" review after the storm is over, and we get a final, official snow map. There are always lessons to learn for the next storm.
And I guarantee this stubborn, angry nor'easter is going to be a case study for meteorology students for many years and decades to come.