Monday daytime will be fine. But conditions across the Garden State will rapidly deteriorate Monday night.

Blizzard Winter Storm Warning 20170313

The Bottom Line

Forecast models have (finally) come to a solid consensus solution for our impending winter storm. It's now a lock — New Jersey is going to see a lot of snow over the next 24 to 36 hours.

The snow won't start until about 8 p.m. Monday evening. So if you have work or school on Monday, errands to run, preparations to complete, and/or shopping to do, you'll be fine during the daytime hours.

Current Conditions

The view from my window this morning, showing a delightfully cold, crisp sunrise over New Jersey. (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media)
The view from my window this morning, showing a delightfully cold, crisp sunrise over New Jersey. (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media)

One of the greatest tri-state area weather personalities of all time (and one of my mentors), Storm Field, once gave me some sage advice: The only tool a good meteorologist really needs to forecast the weather? A window.

With our big winter storm inching closer and closer to New Jersey, I think it's important and relevant to throw aside the fancy computer models for a moment and gaze out the window at our current weather picture. We can learn a lot about future weather conditions.

First,it's coldCurrent warnings from the National Weather Service. (Red=Blizzard Warning, Pink=Winter Storm Watch)

Here is the full rundown:

--Blizzard Warning for Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, eastern Passaic, and Union counties from 8 p.m. Monday to 6 p.m. Tuesday. The most serious of all winter weather warnings, this means the combination of snow and wind will severely reduce visibility, making travel conditions difficult (if not impossible).

--Winter Storm Warning for inland Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties from 8 p.m. Monday to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

--Winter Weather Advisory for coastal Atlantic and Cape May counties from 8 p.m. Monday to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

--High Wind Warning for Atlantic, Cape May, and southeastern Burlington counties from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday. Wind gusts to 50 mph will be possible, especially along the coast.

--Coastal Flood Warning for Atlantic, southeastern Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday. Moderate flooding is expected along tidal waterways at the time of Tuesday's high tide (between 9:15 and 10:15 a.m. along the oceanfront).

--Coastal Flood Advisory for the Delaware Bay coast of Salem County from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday. Surge of 1.5 feet above astronomical tide is expected. High tide will occur at 1:22 p.m. Tuesday at Reedy Point.

The Wiggle

Even though we now have a remarkably consistent consensus among the forecast models, there is still an unavoidable "margin of error" to this forecast. As I have discussed in my forecasts all week, a track shift of just a few miles eastward or westward track — a wiggle — could make for a dramatic difference in our expected weather conditions. (See: The Blizzard That Wasn't)

Is it possible that the rain and mixing affects more of southern and central New Jersey, pushing lower snow totals further north and west? Sure. Is it possible that my conservative "12-18+ inches" forecast doesn't account enough for mesoscale banding of very heavy snow, and totals end up even higher? Sure. Is there anything I can do about it? Nope. I have presented my best well-educated guess of what the weather will look like. There's no such thing as a "perfect" snow forecast - we just try to get as close as possible.

I'll have one more forecast blog before the flakes begin to fly, scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday. And I'll be camped out at the radio station from first flakes until I dig out my car from the parking lot!

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.

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