WEATHER

Winter storm to continue into Monday

BY John Cifelli, Meteorologist |
  • Snow, sleet and freezing rain impacting northern NJ Sunday afternoon and evening
  • Tapers off tonight
  • Snow restarts tomorrow for northern half of the state

The first bout of the state’s one-two winter storm punch is impacting northern New Jersey this Sunday afternoon. A band of heavy precipitation pushed through northern New Jersey in the early afternoon, cooling the vertical column below freezing and changing rain and freezing rain to sleet and snow. That band of heavy precipitation was associated with a punch of warm air aloft, and on the backside of it, expect a switch back to freezing rain and plain rain, depending on your surface temperature. North of Route 80, temperatures will support continued sleet and snow. South and east of the Route 1 corridor, you’re already above freezing and your roads will be just wet for the remainder of the day and the night. Elsewhere, once your temperature rises above freezing this afternoon or evening, you’ll remain above freezing until tomorrow morning. Precipitation will be lighter and spotty overnight.

Monday morning, round two begins. At the time of this writing, Sunday afternoon, a surface low is forming just south of Cape May. It will creep northeast just off the coast and strengthen, wrapping colder air aloft and at the surface across New Jersey. Precipitation will change back to snow from north to south throughout the morning and early afternoon. There may be some embedded bands of heavier snow that could produce a few inches of quick accumulation, but otherwise, snow will generally be light with only minor accumulations for most of the state. The exception will be the northern tier. North of Route 80, snow and sleet will last the longest Sunday evening, and these locations will be the first to see accumulating snow resume Monday morning, allowing for higher totals and a bigger impact. Expect significant travel delays here Monday morning, and total accumulations by Monday afternoon above six inches.

Elsewhere, the Monday forecast is much trickier. Model guidance is split over two scenarios. The first idea is that the surface low sits just east of New Jersey and steadier accumulating snow lasts into the afternoon, spreading spreads south into Mercer, Monmouth, and Burlington Counties. The second possibility is that a second surface low develops much further northeast over New England, and robs the “Jersey coast” low of energy, shutting precipitation off across the Garden State much sooner. I’m more comfortable with the second solution for the time being, which would result in 1 to 3 inches tomorrow between the Route 1 and Route 78 corridor, and less than an inch down to I-195. If the coastal low does in fact stall and sit just off the coast through the late afternoon, then 2 to 4-inch totals would be widespread through central New Jersey, with 6 to 12 inches further north.

Either way, Monday will be snowy, breezy and cold. It will be quite the appropriate announcement of December and meteorological winter’s arrival. The rest of the week looks seasonably cold with fair weather.