As blizzard wraps up, NJ plunges into dangerous cold
While the snow may taper off Thursday evening, the combination of cold and wind will make for painful, dangerous wind chills for the next 48 to 72 hours.
Wow. What a wintry day, huh? The worst-case scenario pretty much played out on Thursday, as the Jersey Shore counties got slammed with double-digit snowfall and wind gusts up to 50 mph. In case you're keeping score, we did reach official blizzard criteria, as 35+ mph wind gusts held visibility at or below a quarter-mile for 3+ consecutive hours at Atlantic City International Airport (ACY).
Let's review some forecast highlights, with a challenging evening commute and some bone-chilling weather conditions ahead.
Snow showers will continue to taper off through about 8 p.m. Thursday. Snowfall intensity won't be nearly as severe as during the heavy snow bands of Thursday morning. However, visibility will be pretty low, especially after sunset (4:46 p.m.)
Blowing and drifting snow are going to be a problem for the foreseeable future too. Drifts are several feet high where the max snow fell (Ocean-Atlantic counties), and the ferocious wind will not subside any time soon. As temperatures hover at or below 25 degrees across New Jersey, there will be no snow/ice melt, and salt/brine will not be terribly effective in clearing the roads.
Speaking of that wicked wind, it's fierce, it's painful, and it's going to continue to gust through the start of the upcoming weekend. Thursday night will classify as "breezy" with winds generally up to 20 mph. On Friday, gusts return to about 40 mph. And Saturday will be blustery too, with 30 mph gusts in the forecast.
The combination of cold and wind is never a good one, and we'll see some of the most extreme cold of the winter so far. (And that's saying something, given the magnitude of our extended post-Christmas arctic blast.) High temperatures on Friday and Saturday will be limited to the teens. Wind chills will stay below zero all day both days, possibly dipping as low as -20 degrees!
A Wind Chill Advisory has been issued for 14 NJ counties (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem, and Somerset) from 6 p.m. Friday until Noon Saturday. An advisory has also been posted for Sussex and Warren counties, starting earlier at 1 a.m. Friday. Dangerous wind chills can cause frostbite and hypothermia in a very short period of time. Make sure you bundle up warmly — including coat, hat, and gloves — before venturing outside.
As the wind finally dies down Sunday morning, the thermometers will plunge to about 0 degrees. It will not only be the coldest morning of the winter so far, but is likely to become our coldest temp in almost two years (since Valentine's Day 2016).
A welcome warmup finally kicks in on Monday, with high temperatures returning to a more seasonable 40 degrees. (Hip hip hooray!) Our next weather-maker arrives Monday night, with a chance for some wintry mix and rain through Tuesday morning.
Be safe. Be smart. Stay warm. The MDZ weather blog now resumes its normal publishing schedule, with updates every weekday around 6 a.m.