NEW JERSEY – The latest in the series of storms on what has previously been dubbed a conveyor belt will be making its appearance on Saturday evening. The latest models have all come into agreement that the coastal low will form in the Mid-Atlantic region and track up the New Jersey coast before turning to the northeast away from our area. As opposed to the major storm of a couple of weeks ago, this system is staying far enough offshore to prevent a major snowstorm. However, this storm will introduce a new villain to the February drama. Ice!
The cold temperatures we have experienced this week will start to lessen a bit as the storm arrives, but for the first few hours will still be below freezing. This will allow the moisture being pulled from the offshore center of the storm, which will be slightly warmer, to meet up with the cooler temperatures onshore, taking the precipitation and freezing it as it hits ground. This will be the condition for the majority of the time our area gets hit by this weather.
Only in the far north and west will there be a sufficient time for a slight amount of snow to fall, and only in the far south and east will temperatures rise sufficiently for rain to fall. The remainder of New Jersey will see sleet, freezing rain, and ice for the majority of the storm. Depending on how long and how strongly the precipitation falls will dictate how much ice. It seems to be a likely a tenth to a quarter of an inch of ice. This will leave trees encased, risking falling branches, as well as turning roads and walkways in skating rinks. It will be extremely dangerous to be walking or driving. Late Saturday, after the storm leaves our area, will temperatures rise above freezing enough to melt the ice.
A second coastal storm on Tuesday is also being watched. Early indications are that this storm may be very similar in style to tomorrow’s storm, so a close watch will be needed. Stay tuned.