Volatile Weather Expected (March 6-10)

Jonathan Carr
By March 6, 2017 11:29

Volatile Weather Expected (March  6-10)

This week should start mild and wet but could end cold and snowy. Let’s break it down…

Disco: Today through Wednesday should feature southerly flow ahead of a cold front. This should bring mild and unsettled conditions to the region. Today should be the driest day of the three but Tuesday into Wednesday AM could see between a quarter-inch and a half-inch of rainfall with possibly embedded thunderstorms just ahead of the cold front. It might take some time for the effects of the cold front front to fully push through. With that said Wednesday night should be colder but Thursday night should be noticeably colder.

Chances are then increasing for snowfall this weekend over two separate waves. The first wave would be Friday morning and the second would be Sunday morning. Let’s all take a deep breath for a minute. I know you’ve seen a bunch of fantasy model maps over the weekend but we have some science to consider. The sun angle this time of year is very high for accumulations to occur on roadways. Solar radiation has no problem even penetrating thicker clouds and reaching the surface. During overnight hours, clouds can reflect Earth-emitting longwave radiation back down to the ground. Therefore, for a storm system to overcome these inhibiting factors and accumulate on roads and paved surfaces, it has to snow very hard after a near-cloudless overnight pre-storm period. For this reason, the chances of a major snow storm this weekend are battling climatology. That’s not to say a light-to-moderate event cannot happen where way more snow falls than actually accumulates on roads. That would be the most rational climatological fit at this point.

In March of 1993, it snowed hard enough to accumulate big time (obviously). In March of 2014, the polar vortex allowed several 6+ inch events to last into early April. So it CAN happen. However neither another triple-phase superstorm (like March of 1993) nor a polar vortex outbreak (like March of 2014) are happening or are expected to happen this weekend. So let’s approach this rationally and recognize the increasing chances (two waves) for snowfall aloft this weekend despite the potentially (likely) uncooperative surface. 9 times out of 10, climatology wins out. I’ll be following the models and live observations closely this week but that’s where we stand right now. The first snow map would likely be Wednesday for the first Friday wave. Until then we’ll be in discussion mode (not forecast mode).

In English: Drier today. Rain and possibly thunderstorms Tuesday-Wednesday. Becoming colder Thursday followed by a light snow event chance on Friday morning. Sunday morning is a bit too far to forecast specifically but another wave of snow is showing (stronger than Friday) which I’ll be watching closely through this week. Here’s your Monday-Friday Outlook:

Monday (Mar 6) high temperatures should reach the upper-40s/lower-50s statewide. Skies should be mixed with sun and clouds. Winds should be light out of the S/SW. Overnight lows should fall into the 30s for most but maybe hang in the 40s for immediate coastal regions.

Tuesday (Mar 7) high temperatures should reach the upper-50s/lower-60s statewide. Skies should be mostly cloudy. On-and-off rainfall is possible throughout the day. Winds should remain light out of the S/SW. Overnight lows should fall into the 40s for most but maybe hang in the 50s for immediate coastal regions.

Wednesday (Mar 8) high temperatures should reach into the lower-60s for most areas. Skies could start mostly cloudy and eventually clear. Remnant rainfall is possible Wednesday morning. Winds should become breezy-to-gusty out of the W once the cold front moves through. This will help drop overnight temperatures into the 30s for most.

Thursday (Mar 9) high temperatures should struggle to escape the 40s statewide. SENJ has the best chance to break 50. Skies should be mostly sunny. Winds should be breezy-to-gusty out of the W/NW. Overnight lows should fall into the 20s and 30s statewide.

Friday (Mar 10) high temperatures should reach into the 40s statewide. Snowfall is possible. Right now, snowfall is modeled between about 1AM and noon. A few inches of snow would be possible, mostly from pre-dawn snowfall and under the heaviest bands. There is still tremendous uncertainty as to which area of NJ would see the heavier bands (NNJ<->SNJ). Any snowfall after 10AM however would likely face sun-angle problems. Winds should be light-to-breezy out of the NW. Overnight lows should fall into the 20s for most. Coastal regions could hang in the 30s.

An early look at the weekend indicates a colder but dry Saturday followed by more snowfall possible on Sunday morning (could start late Saturday night). Models are all over the place for the Sunday morning system so it’s a bit too soon for a specific forecast. Chances for snowfall are increasing however and the pattern does support it. I think the Sunday morning system could have more impact than the Friday morning system but again, let’s approach rationally and patiently. Everyone have a great week and please be safe! JC

Jonathan Carr
By March 6, 2017 11:29