First it was the three-day blast of Arctic air. And now New Jersey is bracing for the second wave of brutal winter weather, with a big coastal storm expected to arrive this weekend.
Forecasters have increased their snowfall predictions, saying the slow-moving storm could dump as much as 8 to 12 inches on many parts of the state, generate wind gusts as strong as 35 to 50 mph, and threaten the Jersey Shore with crashing waves, beach erosion and coastal flooding.
In addition, the National Weather Service has expanded its winter storm watch to include more counties in northern New Jersey, plus New York City and half of Long Island.
Here’s a look at the latest snowfall projections, expected storm timing and active advisories, as of Saturday morning.
HOW MUCH SNOW
The National Weather Service is still calling for very light snow in coastal areas of Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties, because rain and sleet are expected to mix in, but as much as 8 to 12 inches of snow over a wide swath of the state.
The new snowfall projections (which can be seen in the two forecast maps below) cover the full duration of the storm, so they were expected to be a bit higher than the weather service’s earlier projections.
Forecasters from the weather service are calling for winds gusting up to 35 mph in inland areas and as high as 40 to 50 mph in coastal areas, causing “creating significant blowing and drifting of snow.”
“Travel could be very difficult,” especially during the afternoon and evening on Monday, the weather service warned.
Forecasters from the National Weather Service say the first snowflakes should start falling in southwestern New Jersey late Sunday morning or early Sunday afternoon, but it’s not expected to arrive in central and northern New Jersey until late Sunday afternoon or Sunday night.
The snow is expected to continue Sunday night, throughout the day on Monday and overnight Monday before ending early Tuesday morning.
If enough warm air works its way into the atmosphere, forecasters say a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain — or plain rain — could fall at times Sunday night and Monday morning, especially along and near the New Jersey coast. Even if that happens, it could turn back to snow Monday afternoon or Monday night.
- A winter storm watch will go into effect at 6 a.m. Sunday in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties and continue until 6 a.m. Tuesday.
- A winter storm watch will become active in these counties at 6 p.m. Sunday and continue until 6 a.m. Tuesday: Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Warren and coastal sections of Ocean County.
- A winter storm watch will become active in these counties at 6 p.m. Sunday and continue until 6 a.m. Tuesday: Burlington, Camden, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and most of Ocean.
- A winter storm watch will go into effect at midnight Monday (late Sunday night) and continue through 6 a.m. Tuesday in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic and Union counties.
Forecasters say there’s a serious threat of moderate flooding in coastal sections of the state, because the storm could intensify over the ocean and push large volumes of water onto land, especially during high tide cycles Monday and Tuesday.
That threat pertains to the state’s Atlantic coastline, along with the lower Delaware Bay.
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Len Melisurgo may be reached at LMelisurgo@njadvancemedia.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.