Snow lingers, but cold air becomes main story

After a significant winter storm blanketed the area overnight (snowfall totals and maps forthcoming later today once we gather more data), some snow still lingered across the area early this morning. The snow was falling mainly along the New Jersey shore and Long Island as a result of an inverted trough, or an area of lower pressure and forcing which extends away from the main low pressure system. In this case, the main surface low pressure is well east of our area, but the inverted trough extending westward towards the coast is allowing for some continued precipitation.

Filtered sun will give way to clearing by later this afternoon throughout much of the area as the storm system finally pulls away. But by tonight, cold air will become the dominant story. Forecast models are in good agreement on a very cold airmass and classic northerly winds settling into the area — but with the new snow pack,  temperatures could take a historic tumble. Forecast guidance is indicative of low temperatures dropping below 0 F during the overnight from Friday into Saturday, putting some low temperature records in jeopardy. The air will feel even colder due to the aforementioned winds, with wind chill values well below zero through the entire area.

NAM model forecasting low temperatures below zero through much of NJ and NYC tonight.

NAM model forecasting low temperatures below zero through much of NJ and NYC tonight.

Beyond Saturday morning, the cold air will stick around with only a brief respite expected during the late weekend into early next week. Forecast models indicate the potential for a wintry mix and rain from Sunday into Monday, with temperatures rising into the 30’s and 40’s (will feel balmy after what we’re experiencing now). But don’t be fooled — the system is simply riding along a powerful arctic front. 

After the front passes the area on Monday, temperatures will take a historic plummet once again. High temperatures on Tuesday may not get out of the single digits in many interior locations, and may barely cross into the teens even in the city, as the Polar Vortex drops southward from Canada.