So far this winter, nearly every potential winter weather event has turned into something much larger than originally anticipated. This has created headaches and long work nights for meteorologists and forecasters alike. This week, we look to buck the trend a bit. A parade of disturbances through the mid levels of the atmosphere look likely to bring opportunity for light snowfall, but the progressive nature of the pattern will ultimately keep these events fast, with no significant or heavy precipitation and generally weak low pressure centers.
The result will be multiple periods of light snow, first on Tuesday afternoon and evening especially across Southeast New Jersey. Additional periods of light snow are expected both Wednesday afternoon (area-wide) and Thursday (mostly across northern zones). But when all is said and done, the general theme will be light accumulations only (generally a trace to 1″), as the intensity and duration of the snow will be far too light to cause any significant issues. Still, roads could become slick for a period of time so as always we advise traveling with caution. There are no signals for banding or areas of heavy precipitation that could surprise us.
Temperatures, throughout this period of multiple light snowfall events, will be running below normal throughout the area. With each passing event, arctic air will become more entrenched throughout the area with temperatures falling colder each day and winds becoming more brisk. By Thursday night into Friday morning, temperatures could fall into the single digits in the suburbs and lower teens even in the urban and coastal areas. Records could be in jeopardy as the single-day low temperature records for Friday are only around 15 degrees in the NYC Metro area.
Beyond this week, we turn our attention to the latter half of the coming weekend as we look towards continued potential for mid-level atmospheric disturbances to affect our area. As the Pacific Jet continues to bring disturbances ashore, forecast models have come into better agreement that eventually, one of these disturbances will establish themselves in the Southwest US and eventually eject northeastward towards the Central United States and eventually Tennessee and Mississippi Valley’s.
When this occurs, a more substantial precipitation event is likely to occur. The timing, currently, remains a bit of a question mark as models have been wildly inconsistent in bringing the system eastward either late this weekend or during the early to middle part of next week. Regardless, this disturbance will eventually run into colder air which will be entrenched to our north (with the Polar Vortex hanging out over Southeast Canada) — increasing the likelihood of wintry precipitation somewhere in our area.
For now, our attention remains turned to the multiple light snow events this week, and the high likelihood that colder than normal temperatures will keep the area in a deep=winter pattern for the foreseeable future. By this weekend, we can begin honing in on the potential for a more substantial precipitation event and begin to iron out the details of our next winter weather event.