Quiet weather for NJ for now – but two storms worth watching

Quiet, Chilly Weather

Snow total estimates from this weekend’s winter storm. If the storm tracked just 100-150 miles farther north, all of NJ would have been buried. (NOAA / WPC)

This weekend’s winter storm has come to an end here in New Jersey, and all warnings and advisories were allowed to expire overnight. South Jersey is waking up to a wintry wonderland with up to 6″ of snow on the ground. Even in northern and central New Jersey, puddles of melted snow may have refrozen overnight — watch out for slippery spots (i.e. “black ice”) as you begin your Monday.

There are also a handful of school districts with delayed openings in Burlington, Cape May, and Ocean counties.

It’s a cold start to this Monday, with low temperatures ranging from single digits in Sussex County to upper 20s along the Jersey Shore. A little breeze is shoving the wind chill (“feels like” temperature) into the teens.

We’ll see residual clouds and a stiff breeze around South Jersey Monday morning, before sunshine takes over the entire state by lunchtime. High temperatures will make it to about 35 to 40 degrees Monday afternoon, just a hair below-normal for mid-January. (The coolest place in the state may very well be where fresh snow has fallen.)

The combination of sunshine and above-freezing temps should kickstart the snowmelt.

Monday night will carry clear skies, calm winds, and dry air. You know what that means this time of year — cold, cold temperatures. Look for lows in the upper teens to lower 20s for most of the state. With such a hard freeze, black ice could once again be an issue overnight.

Things stay quiet and dry on Tuesday. Skies progress from sunny in the morning, to partly sunny in the afternoon. High temperatures should improve to around the 40 degree mark.

Wednesday looks mostly cloudy, with a fresh breeze kicking up out of the southwest. That will help temperatures to about 40 to 45 degrees by Wednesday afternoon — not too bad. An approaching cold front may fire off an isolated shower (most likely snow, maybe rain) Wednesday evening — although models look quite dry, and the threat for any travel impacts appears minimal.

Cooler air returns on Thursday, limiting daytime high temperatures to around the mid 30s. We’ll probably see partial sunshine at some point.

The Next Storm System

This time of year, we’re always looking ahead to the next potential weather-maker. And this week, that looks to affect New Jersey from Thursday night to Friday morning. At the moment, this clipper system doesn’t look too strong, so we’re just facing a round of light to moderate precipitation.

GFS model forecast for early Friday morning, showing a mix of snowy and rainy weather over New Jersey. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

The challenge here will be temperatures. Both the GFS and Euro models show a mix of snow (NW) and rain (SE) falling across the Garden State.

There is a reasonable chance for up to a few inches of snow accumulation west of the NJ Turnpike (at least). And that would obviously lead to some travel issues for Friday morning’s commute. We will refine this prediction with specifics on timeline, geography, totals, and impacts in the next day or two.

The Next Next Storm System

Forecast models are also catching on to a storm system for next weekend (1/19-1/20) that could be even more significant. But again, there’s not much I can confidently say about this one yet. Our weather impacts will be highly dependent on the precise storm track.

Will New Jersey see 20 inches of snow? Or 1.5 inches of rain? Or a period of freezing rain and significant icing? How about 40+ mph wind gusts? All on the table for this one.

The target timeframe is Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon, with lingering precipitation through early Monday (MLK Day, FYI). Of course, that is subject to change.

Again, at this point (5 to 6 days away), all we can say is that it’s worth watching. Once we’re within 48 to 72 hours of onset (Wednesday night-Thursday), we’ll be able to piece together a more specific timeline and start to talk about totals.

However, I will warn you: Given that temperatures will be flirting with the freezing mark, it might be difficult to get a firm handle on this forecast until the last minute.

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.