By Meteorologist John Cifelli
Snow has begun to fall in central New Jersey, while further south, precipitation is beginning to shift from light rain to sleet and snow. The radar tells a cautionary tale (time sensitive). Radar returns are blossoming south of Route 80, but literally, the highway divides steady snow from an overpowering dry air mass, the result of a southward flexing of the Polar Vortex.
Meanwhile, a break in the precipitation over the Appalachian Mountains suggests that the divided waves of precipitation will result in a lull over the course of the evening, before the main slug of moisture affects New Jersey late tonight and into the morning.
Model trends, now confirmed by radar and satellite, spell a clear story: it’s time to take totals down a notch again for the northern half of the state. Where precipitation is struggling to reach with this first wave, it should not have an easier time during round two around dawn. Further south, snow will still be high-impact, totals will strictly depend on how quickly things change over as the evening progresses.
Expect snow to be winding down in the late morning in northern New Jersey and around noon in New York City, and then later in the afternoon in South Jersey. Compared to where we were just two days ago, this stuff looks ugly.
North of 78 — A coating to 2 inches
South of 78, to Route 1, including NYC — 1-3 inches
Route 1 to I-195 — 2-4 inches
South of I-195 — 5-10 inches
Monday night it will once again be bitterly cold, with clear skies, no wind and fresh snow pack. We will plunge toward zero. Temperatures slowly moderate over the week, and then the next storm dances off the coast Thursday or Friday. Right now it looks warm enough that we can hold our breath for rain.
Weather is humbling for the forecaster. New Jersey is arguably one of the toughest places to forecast on the planet, given its location as the frequent battleground of Arctic and maritime air, and the resultant preferred winter storm track. The atmosphere is fluid and terribly difficult to accurately observe and prognosticate upon. At the end of the day, none of this matters. Meteorologists just need to give the snow total and get it right. I assure you, we are working on doing just that.