By Meteorologist John Cifelli
You can really feel the vortex out there! This upper level pool of depressed (sinking, not sad), cold air is firmly entrenched across southeast Canada, and we will again plunge to the single digits tonight. And tomorrow night. The cold finally relaxes for the weekend, but not because of a friendly, springtime March air mass, but instead as a wave of low pressure spreads moisture over the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, bringing a myriad of winter weather conditions to New Jersey Sunday and Monday.
As the Polar Vortex returns to the hell it hath come from (some call this place “northern Canada”), a powerful surface high pressure will press eastward into the Great Lakes region by late Saturday, keeping temperatures at the surface and in the lower levels aloft subfreezing. This is critical, because a thousand miles to the south, a weak wave of low pressure will begin to spread moisture through the southern Ohio Valley and toward the mid-Atlantic.
Right now, this looks like a mostly snow event for much of the state, beginning with a brief prelude of snow showers or rain showers Sunday afternoon, before the main event impacts the state Sunday night and Monday. I am also concerned that the placement of the powerful surface high in the Great Lakes may serve to reinforce low level cold, which would create a thin ribbon of an icing threat somewhere south of the snowier locales.
This has every chance to be a “French Toast” storm, meaning it will require you to get the bread, milk, eggs AND cinnamon. There is still some wiggle room as far as where the rain/snow line will set up, but the window of likelihood of this storm not happening at all is slammed shut. It is too early to be talking accumulation forecasts, but the “f” word is not out of the question. That’s “foot,” but you might have other choice words. Here’s the flip side for those who have had enough: do you remember when your grandfather used to tell you about the famed winter of (insert a year before your time here)? This is the one you will tell your grand-kids about, as we will approach ’95-’96 and ’09-’10, and may see the snowiest winter of all time when it is all said and done.