Winter weather strikes Friday night into Saturday

BY John Cifelli, Meteorologist |
  •  Snow begins before midnight tonight
  • Heaviest snow falls 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Up to 6 inches in interior southern New Jersey
Snowfall totals for December 9th New Jersey snowfall.

Snowfall totals for Dec. 9 New Jersey snowfall.


A midweek cold front and a tip of the upper-level atmospheric see-saw has sent temperatures tumbling below average across New Jersey and the rest of the mid-Atlantic. In part, the features bringing hot, dry weather to fire-ravaged California are the same ones keeping us in the chiller here on the East Coast. Almost on cue, a developing wave of low pressure will crawl northeast along a frontal boundary stalled just off the coast, spreading light snow across New Jersey beginning tonight. The snow will fall heaviest across the state mid morning to early afternoon tomorrow, before tapering off to flurries Saturday evening.

Temperatures today will peak in the upper 30’s, several degrees below average for this time of year. Skies will remain cloudy through the day and into this evening, when light rain or snow showers begin in coastal and extreme southern New Jersey. As the night progresses, snow will gradually spread north and west, reaching the northwest corner of the state shortly after daybreak. Snow could struggle to accumulate for a bit, particularly on paved surfaces. As the morning progresses, snowfall intensity will increase for a period of time, coinciding with better temperatures aloft for snow crystal growth. Any temperatures above freezing along the coast will have cooled as well, and so a couple hours on either side of noon will be the best chance for snow to accumulate substantially, statewide.

By late afternoon the weak wave of low pressure is sliding north and east, well off the coast. Snow will taper to flurries, and the night will turn gradually clear and cold, with lows in the 20s statewide. Interior southern New Jersey, where it starts as snow instead of light rain or a mix of the two, will see the heaviest accumulations. A general 3 to 5 inches can be expected here, with perhaps a few spots in between the Turnpike and Parkway making a run for 6 inches. Further north and west, snow totals will be lesser, and if it doesn’t fall hard enough midday, it may not even have much or any impact on roadways. For Warren and Sussex Counties, for example, the snow will be more picturesque than problematic.

Sunday will remain below normal temperature-wise but sunny, which will be a fairly consistent trend for the foreseeable future. Much of December looks seasonably cold and dry, with a couple chances of snow or rain on the horizon. It’s a pattern that certainly affords the possibility of a white Christmas. We will see!