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False Start: Second Half of Winter Unlikely to Happen

A month ago, long-range forecasts hinted at a vigorous conclusion to winter in New Jersey, suggesting below-normal temperatures and an energized jet stream poised to usher in additional snowstorms. However, as we delve deeper into February, it's clear that the anticipated cold and active weather pattern has evolved into a more transient and unfavorable setup for sustained arctic incursions.

Current Climate Outlook


Climate Prediction Center 6-10 Day Outlook

The Climate Prediction Center now anticipates a 90-100% likelihood of above-normal temperatures for the period of February 27th to March 2nd. This shift is attributed to a significant low-pressure system entering the Northwest, fostering a pronounced trough over the Western United States alongside a substantial ridge over the East. This configuration is poised to channel warm air into our region by late February, marking a notable departure from earlier projections.


European Model 500mb Map (2/27)

With the establishment of this robust eastern ridge, New Jersey can expect an early onset of spring-like conditions, including the potential for temperatures to ascend into the 70s as February concludes. From Tuesday, February 27th, through Friday, March 1st, anticipate daytime highs in the low to mid-60s, a stark contrast to the wintry chill typically associated with this time of year.


European Model High Temperature. 2/29

Despite the mild temperatures, the forecast indicates a consistent threat of rain throughout the week. As the situation evolves, the extent to which these mild conditions can be enjoyed outdoors remains to be seen, especially with an impending cold front expected to briefly return temperatures to near or slightly below normal. However, this cooldown will be short-lived, as another bout of above-average temperatures is forecasted for mid-March.


Climate Prediction Center 8-14 Day Outlook

Winter's Uncertain Farewell

While it may be premature to declare the winter season conclusively over, the predictive models that once forecasted a resurgence of wintry weather now suggest a dwindling likelihood of significant snowfall. The long-range teleconnections — key indicators of weather patterns — signal a shift away from conditions conducive to snow, favoring instead a scenario that requires precise alignment for snowfall to materialize. Moreover, the impending "Spring Forward" daylight saving time adjustment and the increasing sun angle through March will further diminish the chances of achieving average seasonal snow totals.

Despite the overarching trend towards warmer conditions, there remains a notable signal in the long-range forecasts around March 20th-21st worth monitoring. The teleconnections during this period appear promising, and the extended European model hints at a potential late-season winter event. This timeframe warrants attention for those still hopeful for a taste of winter weather.

European Model Extended 500mb Map (3/20)

Conclusion

As we transition from the heart of winter into the early whispers of spring, the weather landscape across New Jersey presents a complex tapestry of shifting patterns and temperatures. While the fervor for snow may wane, the coming weeks will undoubtedly offer a diverse array of weather experiences, from spring-like warmth to the fleeting possibility of a late-season snowfall. Stay tuned to the latest forecasts as we navigate these changes together, prepared for whatever weather lies ahead.

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