March the Lion: Snow Friday, Cold Weekend Ahead

NAM Simulated Radar for 7 a.m. Friday. Heavy band of snow pressing across Mercer, Middlesex and Monmouth counties. Courtesy of

NAM Simulated Radar for 7 a.m. Friday. Heavy band of snow pressing across Mercer, Middlesex and Monmouth counties. Courtesy of

By John Cifelli
NJTV News Meteorologist

РSnow starts in northern New Jersey before dawn, significantly impacting the morning commute north of 195
РUp to six inches along Route 1 corridor
– Cold and blustery weekend
– Significant coastal low possible early next week

Sixties are widespread today across New Jersey, and this time tomorrow, most of the state will be looking out the window at several inches of fresh snowfall. Such is life across the mid-Atlantic in March. Spring is a swing season, and it is certainly playing its part today and tomorrow with wildly changing weather.

Currently, a really tight temperature gradient exists across the mid-Atlantic. Temperatures are soaring towards 70 degrees in Maryland and Pennsylvania, while parts of southern New York are in the low 40s. Couple this temperature gradient across the region with a powerful jet streak racing across southern New England, and you have the ingredients for a surface low to go boom. As a piece of upper level energy ripples through the eastern third of the country tonight, it will act as the spark for the development of a forming surface low, which quickly deepens and strengthens as it slides off the coast. As it does so, a band of heavy snow will form across the state and sag southward through the early morning.

The piece of the puzzle that allows for the surface temperatures to fall enough to support snow is the current dew points. Although temperatures are warm, dew points are only in the teens. As the air mass saturates and precipitation begins, temperatures will plummet towards the dew point, close to freezing. Precipitation will likely start briefly as rain, and asphalt is warming in today’s sunshine. As a result, accumulations will be a bit lesser on the roadways compared to unpaved surfaces. Regardless, snow will fall heavy enough to overcome surface warmth, and the commute will be tough in the morning, especially north of 195. Expect precipitation to begin before dawn north of Route 1, and a few hours later along and south of 195. The storm is a quick hitter, zipping out of the area by noon statewide, or perhaps slightly thereafter along the coast. The low pressure’s deepening is really remarkable — dropping roughly 20mb in 12 hours. That’s bombogenesis right there!

Look for two to four inches across the northern half of the state, with perhaps a bit more along the Route 1 corridor. All of this falls a couple hours on either side of rush hour. Further south, precipitation should be wet not white for a bit longer, cutting down on accumulations. Look for an inch or two from 195 to the Atlantic City Expressway, and a coating or so south of there.

In its wake, the winds will blow blustery for Friday afternoon into Saturday. It’s thoroughly a wintertime air mass moving into place for the weekend, with high temperatures in the 30s on Saturday and Sunday, and low temperatures in the teens. The cold will relax a bit as we move toward the work week, but all global weather models have been hinting strongly at a significant coastal system to affect New Jersey on Tuesday. The development and track of the Tuesday storm will be better known after the Friday system has run its course, and it’s track and intensity downstream in the northern Atlantic is known.