HAWTHORNE, NJ - A low-pressure system currently developing in the Gulf of Alaska could be making a cross-country tour this week. The storm is expected to move in over the Pacific Northwest between Wednesday and Thursday before striking eastward across the continent, with the Northeast in its sights by the weekend. Early forecasts suggest a potentially significant snowfall event on Saturday, although many details remain unclear.

As of 10:00 p.m. Monday night, both the European and American weather models indicate that snowfall will begin in the tri-state area around 2 p.m. on Saturday, although timing has been somewhat erratic over the last several model iterations. Additionally, both major weather models are nearly in agreement on projected snow totals, with western Passaic and Morris counties picking up 5 to 8 inches, while areas further east, including eastern Passaic and Bergen counties, pick up 2 to 5 inches.

With the storm more than 3,000 miles away, the forecast remains very dynamic, but early agreement between models suggests this is a system that should be monitored closely. A more accurate track of the storm will become available as the system emerges over the Great Plains late Thursday evening or early Friday.

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As usual, readers are referred to National Weather Service products for the latest updates. This is an informal forecast discussion, and official products should be consulted before making any weather-related decisions.

Dr. Daniel J. Ciarletta is a recent graduate from the Environmental Science and Management program at Montclair State University. He has more than a passing interest in the geology, geography, and history of New Jersey, and is also an avid hiker.

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