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Snow in the North, Rain in the South: New Jersey's Split Winter Weather

12z NAM Surface Map 12/28

Northern New Jersey stands on the cusp of a delicate meteorological balance, commonly referred to as a "Thread the Needle" event. This scenario will result in periods of light snow across the northern reaches of the state, while the remainder will experience predominantly rainy conditions. For a more substantial snowstorm to materialize in our region, a precise confluence of weather factors would be necessary, which, unfortunately, is not anticipated in this instance.

A low-pressure system originating from the south will advance northward, undergoing a transition to the coast. Concurrently, a high-pressure system to our north will be receding. The absence of sustained cold air further diminishes the likelihood of significant snowfall. However, this departing high pressure may manage to funnel a modest amount of colder air in the wake of the low-pressure system, resulting in minor snowfall over the extreme northern sections of New Jersey.

Weather Prediction Center Surface Map for Sunday

Regarding the impending weather system, it appears to be relatively mild in terms of snowfall. It would be quite unexpected to observe accumulations exceeding three inches, even in the higher elevations. For the larger part of New Jersey, a rainy Sunday is forecasted, persisting into Monday morning. This suggests a predominantly wet rather than a wintry scenario for most of the state, with snow remaining a minor element of the overall weather pattern.

Snow Map & Impacts

The timeline of this weather event unfolds primarily as a rain-dominated scenario across New Jersey, initiating in the early hours of Sunday. A gradual shift from rain to a mix of snow and sleet is anticipated for the northern regions, likely occurring between 8 and 10 a.m. This transition phase will witness an oscillation between various forms of precipitation, a testament to the dynamic nature of the atmospheric conditions. As the low-pressure system advances further north, and cooler air begins to seep in behind it, a more definitive changeover to snow is expected by Sunday evening, continuing into the early hours of Monday. This final phase, colloquially known as 'backend snow', could lead to light accumulations, particularly in the northern areas.

Impact-wise, the majority of the state will experience a rainy Sunday, extending into the early morning hours of Monday, potentially affecting commute conditions. Those residing in the extreme northern parts of New Jersey need to be prepared for a shift from rain to snow, resulting in light accumulations predominantly on cooler surfaces. Temperatures are forecasted to remain above freezing until Monday night. However, caution is advised on untreated surfaces that might become slippery due to the residual moisture from the preceding rain and snow.

Winter Return?

As we look ahead beyond this immediate weather event, there are indications of a significant shift in our winter weather pattern. Current long-range forecasts suggest a resurgence of winter conditions in New Jersey as we move into February. The upcoming period may mark the end of what has been a relatively mild and uneventful weather phase, transitioning into a more active pattern around mid-February. This change is expected to bring increased chances of snowfall across the state. Analysis of long-range teleconnections – large-scale patterns of atmospheric pressure and circulation – presents a promising scenario for those anticipating a snowy landscape. These patterns are aligning in a way that seems to favor a return to more traditional winter weather for our region.

In conclusion, while the immediate weather event may not bring significant snowfall to New Jersey, the evolving atmospheric conditions hint at a more active and potentially snowy period as we progress through February. Stay tuned for further updates as we continue to monitor these developments.


  • Northern New Jersey: Light snow due to a "Thread the Needle" weather event; significant snowfall unlikely.

  • Rest of the State: Predominantly rainy conditions expected, especially on Sunday, continuing into Monday morning.

  • Snow Accumulations: Minimal, with less than 3 inches even in higher elevations.

  • Timing and Impact: Rain begins early Sunday, transitioning to snow and sleet in northern areas by late morning. Commute on Monday morning might be affected by wet conditions.

  • Long-term Forecast: Indications of a return to more traditional winter weather by mid-February, with increased chances of snow across the state.

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