By John Cifelli
NJTV News Meteorologist
It’s a snow-starved winter thus far for the Garden State, thanks to a dominant El Niño which is controlling the upper air patterns across North America. In a regular winter, a light accumulation from snow showers may not be worth writing home about, but in early 2016, it makes for exciting winter weather on tap for this afternoon!
A ragged Alberta Clipper system is scooting through the eastern Great Lakes this morning, headed towards the East Coast where it will eventually intensify into a coastal low pressure area as it heads towards the Canadian Maritimes. As it approaches New Jersey this afternoon, clouds will thicken, capping surface temperatures below or near freezing for the northern half of the state. Some light rain or snow showers will sprinkle the state during the mid afternoon. As the Clipper passes to the north of New Jersey, it will drag a cold front west to east, triggering a second round of snow showers. The most significant element to this light snowfall is the timing, as the best chance for reduced visibility and accumulation coincides with the drive home once the sun sets. There could be a light accumulation, particularly north of Route 78 as the evening rush hour wraps up. Up to an inch will be the maximum, across the highest, coolest elevations. Southern New Jersey is not likely to see much of anything besides the afternoon sprinkles, as the best dynamics ride the frontal boundary to the north in the early evening.
Seasonable cold follows for Wednesday and Thursday, with highs on either side of 30 degrees, and overnight lows in the teens and twenties. A residual breeze as the coastal low strengthens Wednesday morning will drop wind chills into the scarf, hat and gloves territory, so bundle up!
This weekend a more significant storm approaches from the Mississippi Valley. This one looks more wet than white, as El Niño flexes its muscles once again, spreading moderate Pacific Ocean air over the continental United States, limiting the chances for winter weather in the east.