By Meteorologist John Cifelli
It’s early afternoon in New Jersey and snow has enveloped the entire state. The rain/snow line has begrudgingly pressed south of Cape May and steady, accumulating snow is now falling everywhere. It took a little longer than expected to progress across the southern third of the state, but some of the heaviest snowfall rates are pressing through the Pinelands and toward the southern Cape, helping them “catch up” on snowfall totals. So far, heaviest snowfall totals have been in interior northern New Jersey, where nearly five inches has fallen in parts of Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Bergen and Warren counties.
For the rest of the afternoon, snow will gradually taper from northwest to southeast. Sussex and Warren counties could see things begin to slow within the next couple of hours. Snow lingers in Cape May until the early evening, with the rest of New Jersey wrapping up mid to late afternoon. Snowfall rates will continue to be impressive at times, with up to an inch an hour falling in the heavier bands. The next couple of hours are really going to smack the lower third of the state. Rates could approach two inches per hour for a short period. Snowfall totals will press against the top end of my forecast ranges, and exceed them in some places in central and southern New Jersey. At this point I expect some double digit totals along and just south of what I outlined as the corridor of highest totals a couple days ago — Camden to Manasquan.
By 8 or 9 p.m. we’re clear all the way to Cape May, and cold settles in for the next 36 hours. We will once again make a run for the record books as temperatures reach the single digits both tonight and Friday night. In March, that’s pretty extreme. The good news (I feel the need to deliver some today) is that we will climb the ladder over the next five days. After a day in the 20s tomorrow, it’s 30s on Saturday, 40s on Sunday and we might peek at 50 in parts of the state as we get to Tuesday. So my suggestion is to have a cup of hot chocolate, sit by the window and do one of two things — enjoy the view or anticipate winter’s impending demise.