WAYNE, NJ - Wayne was once again lucky as the second of back-to-back ice storms with the potential of causing serious problems for driving as well as power outages ended up being mostly very cold rain.  Residents are hoping to get lucky again as new forecasts have begun to zero in on the track of a potential snowmaker set to reach North Jersey on Thursday. This later storm is expected to form over the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday before cutting across the Atlantic Piedmont and rapidly accelerating northeastward. Current predictions call for snowfall in the range of 3 to 8 inches for North Jersey, although uncertainty remains high.

Modeled trajectories for Thursday’s storm have shown considerable variation over the last 24 hours, but the rough consensus among the major weather models is that the core of the system will pass within 50 miles of the New Jersey coast. At this distance, the storm will be positioned to rotate warm, oceanic air inland as it passes, which should force a transition from snow to sleet to rain. In terms of timing, snowfall is expected Thursday afternoon and early evening, followed by sleet and mixed precipitation in the early morning hours Friday before switching to rain.    

Adjustments in the track of the storm are possible over the next 48 hours, and east-west shifts of as little as 20 miles could result in a differential of almost 6 inches of snowfall in Passaic and Bergen counties. Readers are advised to watch for winter weather advisories on Wednesday and plan for potentially heavy snowfall during the Thursday evening commute.

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

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