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Last Gasp of Winter


There has been numerous articles and posts about Winter making a comeback as we got into Meteorolgical Spring due to some atmosphereric signals showing signs of life, as I went over in previous articles.

We are currently looking at two different waves that look to bring wintry precipitation to our area but most likely not the type of storm you were hoping for before Winter is completely dead.

Wave 1

Operational run of 00z GFS & EURO

Our first wave is a quick moving low pressure system that will be sliding over the Ohio Valley area early Friday morning and continuing its Eastward movement into Pennsylvania Friday evening where the low will begin its transition to redevelop in the Atlantic. This type of redevelop along the coast closely identifies with the Miller-B type of storm.

The major problem with this setup thus far is the very progressive (Flat West to East) movement in the Jet Stream with no blocking to our North.

GFS 500mb pattern 3/10

As you can see above, our current upper air pattern is very flat for this system, we do not have any big troughs in the jet stream where storms can dip into the Southern Jet, gather the gulf moisture, and ride up the coast.

Instead, we have a quick moving redeveloping low that will bring some snow to portions of New Jersey. The timing of this storm is key to gettitn snow into New Jersey, as this system will span from Friday evening and into Saturday morning, daytime heating won't be an issue, however much of the state will still have marginal surface temperature where accumulations will be held down to cool surfaces.

12z NAM Sfc map showing 10pm Friday

During the evening hours Friday(After 3pm), much of the state will be seeing rain unless you are in the higher elevations in Northern NJ. This will progress throughout the night and into Saturday morning as the low transfers to the coast and cooler air will begin to filter down and change over that rain to snow for mostly all of New Jersey. As the low pulls off, I've been seeing models suggest some meso banding over Central NJ with a norlun trough. This could lead to some moderate snow that will stick to the cooler surfaces.

12z NAM SFC possible meso banding (9am Saturday)

Since this will be a quick moving event with marginal surface and air temps, accumulations will be on the lower side. Generally the snow maps show 10:1 ratio but with this being on the warmer side, it will be less than that.

12z NAM expected snowfall
Official NWS expected snowfall forecast

The National Weather Service of Philadelphia/Mount Holly agree on the Northern areas have the better chance of accumulating, while the rest of the state will be minimal. Forecast is in-line with the rest of the model runs (similar to the above NAM run).

Wave 2

Right after our first wave has exited, wave two is right on its tail. Wave two is expected to arrive Monday afternoon and depending on how it involves, stick around most of the day Monday. However, models are having a little issue on how the 500mb vorticies line up.

GFS 500mb vorticies

The GFS has weak sourthern stream and a no phase until way the low pressure system is well off the coast. The whole trough is generally weak with no negative tilt to support strengthening. This particular setup is a quick fly by with some flurries.

EURO 500mb vorticies

The EURO has a little more powerful southern jet with a quicker phase, that allows the low pressure system to be pulled up the coast, rather than drifted out to sea like the GFS. The timing of the upper pattern will be dependent on what type of system we see in New Jersey. One of the other big problems will be the timing of this system. This looks to play out during the middle of the day with the highest daytime heating. A lot of factors would have to go extremely right for an all out snow solution, which I am not seeing is likely.

The Last of Winter?

After these two waves, I really don't see Winter making any additional comebacks.

MJO Forecast

The MJO is currently in its "best" zone for us to received winter storms and we are currently getting those chances. The MJO is not the end be all but it's showing that even in the best environment, storms don't always materialize into big events. After the two waves of storms are out of here, the strong signal from the MJO quickly starts to fad into a very neutral phase, leaving a very inactive period for us.

NAO, PNA, AO Forecast

The Teleconnections are also showing signs of the overall pattern no longer being favorable plus we are now moving into Mid March with daylight hours increasing this weekend. I believe this is Winters final gasp and will begin to the transition to Spring.


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