By John Cifelli
NJTV News Meteorologist
After a wild weather week, we have cold air back in place across New Jersey. Although the upper level pattern is still not favorable for a significant snowstorm, we will have a few chances for a few inches over the next few days for parts of the state. The first comes tomorrow morning, just in time to foul things up during the morning commute.
An upper level impulse is dropping down from Canada through the Arctic jet stream, which has kept us chilly the last few days. This 500mb energy will help spin up a developing surface low pressure tonight along the mid-Atlantic coast tonight. As the low strengthens and slides out to sea to our south, it will touch off light snow south and east of the Turnpike. Snow will begin before dawn, and cause travel issues, particularly along and south of the Atlantic City Expressway.
It’s plenty cold at the surface and aloft. In fact, the temperatures in the “snow growth zone” aloft are ideal for dendrites — the fluffy flakes that pike up and maximize accumulation potential. So although the storm is relatively weak in its infancy tomorrow morning before strengthening after it departs, I think the antecedent air mass squeezes as much snow as possible from the system before things wrap up mid to late morning.
Look for two to four inches along the eastern half of the Expressway, down into Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic counties. Elsewhere in southern New Jersey, one to three inches should fall between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m., with the lower totals being near Philly and along the 195 corridor. Elsewhere, maybe a few flakes, which could whiten the ground or put down a coating, especially along Route 1 in Mercer or Middlesex counties.
By noon the sun is starting to break out in places, and temperatures creep towards 40 degrees. That should help the roads get cleared pretty quickly.
Tuesday, a decaying Alberta clipper will skip by to our north, bringing the chance for light accumulating snow to the northern half of the state. The storm track, daytime timing and the fact that it is weakening, presents a less than ideal setup. If it does materialize, it doesn’t look like more than an inch or two for anyone.
After a seasonably cold week thereafter, the next chance for unsettled weather comes in the evening of Super Bowl Sunday.