Cold Start. Mild Finish (Feb 20-23)

Cold Start. Mild Finish (Feb 20-23)

Written on 02/19/2020
Jonathan Carr

Discussion: Another very positive-tilted upper-level trough will swing through over the next few days before giving way back to above-average geopotential heights Saturday into the first half of next week. That should put NJ inside the trough tonight through tomorrow (Thursday) and under upper-level NW flow on Friday. At the surface the cold front pushed S of NJ yesterday which produced a colder day today and will produce a colder night tonight (20-30F NNJ-SNJ). Tomorrow and Friday should struggle to escape the 30s for high temperatures. A solid snow storm is expected to push through parts of North Carolina, Virginia and S Delmarva Thursday PM into early Friday AM. This system will ride the frontal boundary that was pushed S of NJ yesterday as the cold front. At this point there are no expected accumulations in extreme SNJ during this period. The most reasonable and rational expectation is for snow to remain just S of Cape May. However let’s throw a small caveat on the table for flurries and light snow showers in extreme SNJ should the N extent of the precip shield verify N of where currently modeled. Again I’m not leaning towards this but I’ve seen it happen many times before with similar setups. The system then moves out and we moderate back to a milder setup for Saturday and Sunday. Some great outdoor weather is expected (for February) especially Sunday. The entire weekend looks dry and the milder conditions should last through at least Tuesday maybe even Wednesday. We might see some rain from a lakes system Tues-Wed. There is then a synoptic storm signal showing for Thursday Feb 27. The system would ride just behind the lakes system but track closer to the east coast. If it were to track far enough SE then it could bring snow to NJ. Otherwise a track directly over the coast would likely mean a rain-to-snow scenario at best. The GFS, Canadian and Euro all have the system. GFS is warmer. Canadian and Euro are snowy for NJ. We’re 7 days out so not really focusing on surface details as much as the signal consistency. By the end of this weekend I should have a much better idea.

We’re now entering the 8th inning of winter and snow fans (whether for personal or business reasons) are still mostly scoreless. Aside from an early December 2019 system (for NNJ only) most of NJ is snow-starved especially after a non-snowy prior winter (2018-2019). I know a lot of you want definite answers to questions like “will it ever snow again in New Jersey this winter…or for the rest of my life even?” I’ll repeat my position that I take every 7 days at a time regarding snow storms. And until mid-March (at the earliest) I cannot wave the “no more snow this season” flag. That’s not me forecasting snow before winter’s end. That’s me saying there’s still a little time left for something to spin up, as it has in many winters before. I will however agree with the “this winter sucks” crowd. It’s been a lousy 7 innings so far with an unfavorable winter pattern and time is certainly running out. Let’s see how the Feb 27 signal evolves over the next few days. Please try to keep your comments respectful. Trash the weather pattern but not each other.

Thursday (Feb 20) high temperatures should fail to escape the 30s statewide. Skies should be mixed with sun and clouds with a small chance of flurries/snow showers from the snow storm passing by to the S of NJ. Cape May County would have the best chance to see such. Otherwise a close miss to the S is the most probable call. Winds should be light out of the NW. Overnight lows should range from mid-teens to mid-20s NNJ to SNJ.  

Friday (Feb 21) high temperatures should again fail to escape the 30s statewide. Skies should be mostly sunny. Winds should remain light out of the NW. Overnight lows should range from near-20 to near-30 NNJ to SNJ.

Saturday (Feb 22) high temperatures should reach the mid-to-upper 40s for most areas. SNJ (away from ocean) would have the best shot at 50. Skies should be mostly sunny. Winds should be light out of the W. Overnight lows should fall back into the 20s for most areas perhaps near-30 for SNJ near the ocean.

Sunday (Feb 23) high temperatures should reach near-50 for most areas. Interior CNJ/SNJ would have the best shot at running up into the 50s possibly closer to 60. Skies should be mostly sunny with a milder feel. Winds should be light out of the SW. Overnight lows should range from near-30 to near-40 NNJ to SNJ.

An early look at next week indicates milder conditions (highs in the 40s for NNJ/highs in the 50s for SNJ) lasting through mid-week with some rain possible in the Tuesday-ish period. Temperatures should then drop again later in the week (like today-tomorrow) for a synoptic storm signal in the Thursday (Feb 27-ish) period. Whether it will be snow or rain is yet TBD. For now there’s consensus building on some type of precip and increased winds. I’ll watch this signal through the weekend and will report appropriately and accordingly.

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