Winter Storm Incoming...And It's a Doozy!

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Good Morning! Taking a few minutes to update you on a developing situation. I promised I’d post a few things today and I’m keeping my word. I always make it a point to not speculate what may or may not happen more than 3 days out. There’s just no point to it. I’m in the business of being accurate and I like to make forecasts based on data that has come to a general consensus. Things will get tweaked I’M SURE over the next 48 hours but at least we can start to dive into some of the details.

Earlier in the week it looked as though we may be dealing with a full fledged snow storm for everyone. Now? That doesn't look to be the case, at least not for most of us in South Jersey… north and west of Philly? That’s a different story. The issue is, and has been, track. The low is going to pass either over our region or slightly east. This brings in warmer air that will allow for a majority RAIN event for everyone southeast of Philadelphia. Now, there IS a chance we could see a quick bout of snow at the start (Saturday night) and then again on Sunday afternoon, but if you’re reading this closer to the shore, you can be content (or very upset) that you’re probably looking at 1-3” of plain old boring rain.

Now with that said, let’s cover a few specifics

TIMING:

Precip moves in from southwest to northeast by late Saturday afternoon. All precip falling from the sky will be over and done with by early Sunday evening. Roughly an 18 hour event.

PRECIPITATION TYPE:

Mainly rain. Temps may be cold enough at the very start for a period of snow, but it would be brief with a quick transition over to all rain south and east of Philadelphia. There’s also a chance that there could be some snow by Sunday late morning as the cold air rushes into the region. Maybe 1-3” depending on just how much moisture is leftover and how much / if any can be converted to snow. I DO have to caution you that there HAS been a notable trend to bring the storm farther south and east. IF that continued and the final track of the low was about 50 miles SE? We'd move the measurable snow potentially as far as the coast. That isn't likely right now, but you know how fast things can change. 

Here's where things are early Sunday Morning (note the heavy snow well north and west):

and Sunday afternoon (note potential for a quick round of snow before it wraps up):

I also want to point out potential for freezing rain on Sunday afternoon. This particular model wants to go 1/2" to 1" of ICE. I can't even begin to tell you how bad that would be for folks who see it. Much worse than snow. Right now it looks like most should remain north BUT if we start seeing pink echoes on radar, we're in for it. Potential for power outages is there. Best chance of a freezing rain event in South Jersey would be west of Hammonton but as I pointed out, at least as of right now, the threat is primarily for North Jersey:

Potential Rainfall:

1-3". That's A LOT of rain... we certainly don't need it and it concerns me that driving could be difficult on Sunday afternoon and evening due to potential flash freeze. 

Potential Snowfall:

Here's the tricky part. While I'm not leaning towards any type of major accumulating snow for anyone southeast of Philly, we DO have to at least keep an open mind for shifts. Right now based on what I see, there's probably a 1-4" potential from just west of Hammonton to the Delaware River. Keep in mind, a shift south and east would bring those numbers up... Here's what the EURO is doing, and I like the look of this:

WINDS:

They will initially be out of the northeast then through Sunday morning shift out of the southeast. We’re looking at gusts to 35-40mph and then stay consistently windy through early Tuesday as the storm departs well to our northeast. Wind Advisories will likely be posted. Worst winds will be out of the Northwest and help usher in the brutally cold air.

 

EXTREME TEMP SWING:

Here’s a look at things on Sunday morning: 

And WIND CHILLS on Monday morning:

See the HUGE difference? That is an over 60 degree plunge based on location. Wind chills remain brutally cold going into the day on Monday… it’s a day you’ll want to stay home.

These numbers may get low enough for Wind Chill Advisories to be issued by Sunday night.

COASTAL IMPACT:

This storm will also bring along some coastal implications in the form of tidal flooding. The on-shore flow will begin on Saturday afternoon and gradually pick up. Probably an 18 hour event with winds coming from the northeast, east and eventually southeast. Excess water gets pushed ashore. Add that to the already high tides due to the full moon and you get the ingredients needed for flooding. How bad? I’d  prepare for moderate, but due to the track of the low, we are probably looking at wide-spread minor. This is something that will become clearer by late tomorrow. If you live in the flood-prone areas, you know the drill. With every coastal storm event, I MUCH rather tell you to take the steps needed to prep for an event that could be slightly worse. Being over prepared never hurt anyone. A slight shift in track could change this forecast, so pay attention! 

High Tide Times:

Ventnor - Sunday 6:19am / 6:48pm 5.2’/3.8’

Cape May - Sunday 6:53am / 7:22pm 5.8’/4.3’

Sea Isle City - Sunday 6:58am / 7:20pm 5.0’/3.7’

Ocean City - Sunday 7:10am 4.66’

Threshold for minor and moderate tidal flooding varies by location. Tides are typically higher throughout Cape May county and for that reason the flooding is generally more extensive. The tide we're looking at the most would be Sunday MORNING around 7am. 

CAPE MAY

ATLANTIC CITY 

SUMMARY:

In terms of overall impact, this will be a 3 out of 5 storm. I’m only going with that because of the ‘flash freeze” that will occur as we go through Sunday afternoon. It’s concerning that we will see a good deal of rain before the temps plunge. Why? The water has nowhere to go. Travel will become dangerous especially with standing water in the streets. We will get down into potentially the single digits for lows. This is a situation I’ll continue to monitor as we get closer. If you’ve got travel plans you won’t want to be out from late Saturday night into early Sunday afternoon. That’s the window we’re looking at.

If you're heading north and west of Philly - good luck! Over 10" of snow is possible for some, with blizzard conditions at times. This is a forecast everyone will want to pay close attention to. Minor shifts can have big consequences. The quicker the low gets to the shore, the sooner the cold air can rush in and the greater the potential for snow to shift south becomes! 

If I didn’t cover your specific question, please feel free to comment. Be safe!