A Taste of Winter: Two Shots of Snow Through the Weekend

By John Cifelli
NJTV News Meteorologist

– A couple inches Thursday night
– Gulf low scrapes New Jersey Saturday
– Cold and blustery at times through Monday

Despite several cold snaps, and multiple rounds of precipitation through December, winter has really lined up to take a big swing at a wintry precipitation event. There’s been some accumulating snows in northern New Jersey, but at the 1/3 mark through meteorological winter we have yet to see a significant statewide snowfall. That doesn’t look to change for the foreseeable future, despite a few chances for some flakes over the next few days, beginning tonight.

A weak wave of low pressure is developing along a coastal front draped across the mid-Atlantic. Cold air has pressed across the Northeast and into New Jersey in the last 24 hours, while temperatures are in the relatively moderate 40s and 50s across Virginia and North Carolina. Low pressure loves to form and strengthen along these temperature gradients, and through the evening, a surface low will slide off the eastern seaboard, well to our south. At its closest point, the weak low will be a couple hundred miles southeast of the Delmarva Peninsula, spreading snow across the state by midnight.

It’s slow to develop and fast to depart, and by daybreak the last flakes will be flying along the coastline. The biggest issue will be for those with early commutes. The roads could be slick before dawn, particularly along the southeast coast where the impacts from the low will be strongest. “Strongest” is said tongue in cheek, as accumulations may creep toward three inches in Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean counties. Elsewhere, look for an inch or so. It should be a picturesque morning as the sun peeks out by the late morning, and all surfaces will have a fresh coating of the white stuff. Friday and Friday night will be cold and breezy. Bundle up if you’re out and about tomorrow night.

Saturday, a stronger, more moisture-laden low will trek from the Gulf of Mexico up the eastern seaboard. A fairly progressive upper level pattern will shunt the low out to sea before it climbs to a high enough latitude to bring a significant impact to the Garden State. Instead, for now, it looks like the parts of the state that see the most accumulation tonight will again have the best bet of needing the shovels and plows during the day on Saturday. A small shift in the pattern could cause a slightly more western storm track, which would bring snows further west. The weekend storm is working with enough moisture that it’s worth watching closely.

Strong high pressure builds across the mid-Atlantic in the wake of the departing coastal low Saturday night and Sunday. Winds will be breezy and temperatures among the coldest of the winter. Breaking freezing on Sunday and Monday will be unlikely, statewide.

By midweek, things are moderating, and rain looks more likely than snow for the next event, next week. We will have to continue to wait for our big winter storm for now. Such is life in the mid-Atlantic during a La Nina pattern.