By Meteorologist John Cifelli
Record-breaking cold was experienced across New Jersey last night. Low temperatures crept to -11 degrees in Sussex County! The barrier islands just missed touching zero, and the warmest low temperature was in Cape May, a toasty 7 degrees. Last night’s lows were record breaking for Trenton and Atlantic City, shattering daily record lows that stood for nearly 150 years. This cold is thanks in part to the Valentine’s Day storm, which is currently over the Canadian Maritimes. The mid-Atlantic is in the northwest flow behind this system, so arctic air is sagging southward from Canada in the storm’s wake.
To our southwest, our next snow maker is sliding more east than north, spreading light snow into Maryland and Virginia, and frozen precipitation as far south as Georgia. Yesterday, it looked likely to me that this storm would climb the coast somewhat, and slide out to sea to the southeast of New Jersey.
Today that looks increasingly less likely, as the upper air pattern has evolved away from a setup that would encourage the coastal low to rise along the coast. Instead, a more southerly/easterly track looks most likely at this point. Still, everyone will see snow, but this is shifting away from a high impact event for northwest New Jersey. The best snowfall accumulations will still be in southeast New Jersey.
Beginning after dark tonight, snow will begin in southwest New Jersey and over Philadelphia, before spreading to the New York City metro area shortly after midnight. Snow will be mostly light except for a period of moderate intensity toward dawn. The exception to this will be Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic and coastal Ocean counties. Here snow will fall heavy at times toward dawn.
By 9 a.m., this thing is all wrapped up statewide. It’s a quick hitting light snow event at this point, with New Jersey on the northern fringe of a developing storm with a good slug of Gulf of Mexico moisture. It just doesn’t creep far enough north to be a big deal for the entire state.
Accumulation projections have likewise been cut back since yesterday. The bulk of accumulating snow comes between midnight and 6 a.m., so due to timing, this will still cause issues for the morning commute.
Wednesday, an arctic front blasts through the state, bringing the chance for a brief burst of light snow, with perhaps another coating on the ground. Wednesday night through Friday, we are back in the freezer, with a chance to break more cold air records. Winter drags on for the time being.