OT: Winter Returns...Very Cold, then Snow to Rain on 12/17, then cold again; mild for XMas?

RU848789

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First winter thread of the season (bac beat me to the one for tomorrow, lol). Meant to start this yesterday, but I've been a little busy with work and my wife. She's ok and going to be ok, but she went into the hospital for viral meningitis yesterday - 3rd time, which is very unusual; the bacterial version is much more dangerous, although the viral version will knock someone out for a week. Hopefully she'll get to go home tomorrow evening and rest up all week (they keep you in the hospital as a precaution, in case the initial culture for the bacterial version is incorrect, which happens about 1% of the time - the full culture takes 48 hours).

Anyway, as opposed to last December, which shattered all records for warmest December on record, this December is looking to be colder than normal, with numerous chances at snow/precip, especially over the next week to 10 days. While areas well to the NW (Poconos, Sussex County and Hudson Valley) have already seen 6-10” of snow this winter, most folks in the Philly-NYC corridor have maybe seen just a few flakes (we did get that surprise 1/2” of sleet/snow at my house and obviously at the PSU game on 11/19; parts of NW NJ got 3-6" for that one). I know most folks aren't snow nuts like I am, but the plus side, even for snow grinches, is that some holiday season snow is more likely than usual this year.

So, the first chance at some measurable snowfall is this Sunday night into Monday morning, from a “southwest flow event” with an approaching low from the west bringing overrunning moisture to the cold air we’ll have in place. There's obviously a thread on that already, although this looks like a classic snow to rain scenario for most, with little impact along or near I-95 (and from there to the Shore), although north of 78 and especially north of 80, this could be a significant event with 1-4" of snow (the higher amounts N and W) and possibly up to 0.1" of freezing rain on top of the snow, before a changeover to rain, making for a wintry commute in those locations on Monday morning.

https://rutgers.forums.rivals.com/t...ernoon-into-monday.115073/page-2#post-2513441

Beyond this event, there are a couple more opportunities next week for snow/precip, although it’s definitely too far out to know how much snow and/or rain we're going to get on any particular day, The next chance for snow or is then Wednesday night into Thursday and then there’s another shot of a snow to ice to rain event next weekend. The point isn’t to predict snow that far out, but to highlight that the pattern is colder and wetter than normal, meaning snow is more likely than usual, especially for early/mid-December when we don’t usually get much snow, as meteorological winter (Dec-Jan-Feb) has just begun and temps typically aren’t that cold yet (takes a long time to cool the oceans).

One thing that’s certain: it's going to be relatively cold the next several days and then it looks like it’s going to get anomalously cold by late next week, with highs in the 20s looking likely. For comparsion, the average right now for NYC is still highs in the mid-40s and lows near 30F - last night was NYC's first sub-freezing night since last April (urban heat island effect - been below freezing everywhere else). Also, some serious lake effect snow winding down right now - will be snow measured in feet in the favored locations for the wind direction. If you like to keep up to date on these things, some of the usual links are below…

http://www.weather.gov/phi/

https://www.americanwx.com/bb/forum/11-new-york-city-metro/

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=wxriskcom

Finally, I have a lot of people ask me what I think is going to happen for the winter. For what it's worth, aside from not being an actual meteorologist (although I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express, once), I personally don't put much stock in anything beyond a week for specific weather and beyond 2-3 weeks for trends. Deterministic models used to forecast actual weather conditions in the future, based on current conditions and actual meteorology/physics, become useless after about 8-10 days, as the "cone of uncertainty" becomes huge, due to the chaotic nature of weather (the butterfly effect).

The people who forecast beyond 2 weeks utilize analog-based "forecasting," where one compares the current state, globally, with states that were similar with respect to various global/regional indices (like El Nino, the Arctic Oscillation, the PDO, EPO, NAO, SO, etc.) in past years and then use essentially pattern recognition skills to find the best "match" - often the closest matches had similar evolutions from the current state through subsequent weeks or even months, so they then will "predict" that we'll have similar outcomes this in the current month/season.

The problem is this technique is fraught with errors and only some to most of the "matches" agree with each other, so it becomes a probabilistic analog-based forecast and I've yet to see anyone do this well yet (including the Farmer's Almanac) with the possible exception of Dr. Grey's seasonal tropical activity forecast, where he's been reasonably "accurate" (i.e., predicting above, below or average activity at maybe a 60% clip, as opposed to random guessing, which would be 33% accurate with 3 choices), but nowhere near as accurate as, say, a 5-day deterministic weather forecast. And keep in mind, for those who like to lambaste weather forecasts, the weather forecasts today are as accurate 5 days out as they were 3 days out 25 years ago – that’s an impressive improvement in prediction accuracy.
 
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RUtix4me

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Let me be the first to post these this winter.

68609725.jpg


getsmart_toomanychiefs_cone_of_silence.png
 

gunboat

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Common knowledge is the Raritan River divides weather. North it's snow and south of the river it's rain. Glad I live on the south side. ☔
 

RU848789

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#s, thanks for the info. Hope your wife gets back to healthy real soon.

Thanks and thanks. She's starting to feel a little better and hopefully she can get out of the hospital tomorrow afternoon. The first time she got it was about 10 days before our wedding and we were 50/50 on postponing, as she couldn't even stand up until 3 days before the wedding.

As an aside, for anyone who ever wonders about whether someone has meningitis, the tell tale sign in most cases is a very stiff neck and, in particular, one will experience severe pain when trying to touch one's chin to one's chest. And if it's bacterial meningitis, which is much more deadly, figuring it out early (often by the chin to the chest test) can save someone's life.
 

RU848789

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Why is 95 always such a big thing, is it the blacktop?

Well any major highway will get less snow accumulation than the grass on the side of the highway, due to the heat generated by the traffic and, during daylight hours, due to absorption of the sun's radiation, which is enhanced by the dark surface. But the reason why people always talk about the I-95 corridor is that, in marginal situations, it's often the dividing line between rain and snow.

That's mostly an accident of geography. I-95 from DC to Boston, at least, generally runs northeast and is relatively close to the coast at usually low elevation. And many winter storms are coastal lows that move towards the northeast, close to the coast (nor'easters). For these storms, typically, the temperature gradient is perpendicular to the path of the storm, i.e., as one moves from SE to NW the temperature decreases and often the temperature transitions from above freezing near the coast to around freezing near the I-95 corridor to below freezing NW of that corridor.

In addition, as one moves inland of I-95, elevation increases, sometimes fairly quickly, which enhances that temperature gradient - generally speaking for every 1000 foot increase in elevation, temperature drops about 5F. So that temperature gradient can be pretty steep (pun intended) as one moves NW of I-95, leading to a very quick transition from rain to snow.

For example, for a major coastal storm, that's why we can often see all rain in Belmar, an inch or two of snow, then all rain in Old Bridge, 3-4" of snow, then mostly rain in Somerville, 6-8" of snow, then some rain in Hacketstown, and a foot of snow with no rain at all at Mt. Pocono. Hope that helps.
 
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RU848789

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weenieson AmericanWx seem dour after some long range intel showing big warmup toward Xmas time

You know I never root for winter warmth, but this will be an exception, as we're heading to Vero Beach from the 23rd to the 28th to be with family and I absolutely hate missing a good snowstorm back home when I'm away, so torch away, lol. However, forecasting 2 weeks out is still a crapshoot.
 

RU848789

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First winter thread of the season (bac beat me to the one for tomorrow, lol). Meant to start this yesterday, but I've been a little busy with work and my wife. She's ok and going to be ok, but she went into the hospital for viral meningitis yesterday - 3rd time, which is very unusual; the bacterial version is much more dangerous, although the viral version will knock someone out for a week. Hopefully she'll get to go home tomorrow evening and rest up all week (they keep you in the hospital as a precaution, in case the initial culture for the bacterial version is incorrect, which happens about 1% of the time - the full culture takes 48 hours).

Anyway, as opposed to last December, which shattered all records for warmest December on record, this December is looking to be colder than normal, with numerous chances at snow/precip, especially over the next week to 10 days. While areas well to the NW (Poconos, Sussex County and Hudson Valley) have already seen 6-10” of snow this winter, most folks in the Philly-NYC corridor have maybe seen just a few flakes (we did get that surprise 1/2” of sleet/snow at my house and obviously at the PSU game on 11/19; parts of NW NJ got 3-6" for that one). I know most folks aren't snow nuts like I am, but the plus side, even for snow grinches, is that some holiday season snow is more likely than usual this year.

So, the first chance at some measurable snowfall is this Sunday night into Monday morning, from a “southwest flow event” with an approaching low from the west bringing overrunning moisture to the cold air we’ll have in place. There's obviously a thread on that already, although this looks like a classic snow to rain scenario for most, with little impact along or near I-95 (and from there to the Shore), although north of 78 and especially north of 80, this could be a significant event with 1-4" of snow (the higher amounts N and W) and possibly up to 0.1" of freezing rain on top of the snow, before a changeover to rain, making for a wintry commute in those locations on Monday morning.

https://rutgers.forums.rivals.com/t...ernoon-into-monday.115073/page-2#post-2513441

Beyond this event, there are a couple more opportunities next week for snow/precip, although it’s definitely too far out to know how much snow and/or rain we're going to get on any particular day, The next chance for snow or is then Wednesday night into Thursday and then there’s another shot of a snow to ice to rain event next weekend. The point isn’t to predict snow that far out, but to highlight that the pattern is colder and wetter than normal, meaning snow is more likely than usual, especially for early/mid-December when we don’t usually get much snow, as meteorological winter (Dec-Jan-Feb) has just begun and temps typically aren’t that cold yet (takes a long time to cool the oceans).

One thing that’s certain: it's going to be relatively cold the next several days and then it looks like it’s going to get anomalously cold by late next week, with highs in the 20s looking likely. For comparsion, the average right now for NYC is still highs in the mid-40s and lows near 30F - last night was NYC's first sub-freezing night since last April (urban heat island effect - been below freezing everywhere else). Also, some serious lake effect snow winding down right now - will be snow measured in feet in the favored locations for the wind direction. If you like to keep up to date on these things, some of the usual links are below…

http://www.weather.gov/phi/

https://www.americanwx.com/bb/forum/11-new-york-city-metro/

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=wxriskcom

Finally, I have a lot of people ask me what I think is going to happen for the winter. For what it's worth, aside from not being an actual meteorologist (although I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express, once), I personally don't put much stock in anything beyond a week for specific weather and beyond 2-3 weeks for trends. Deterministic models used to forecast actual weather conditions in the future, based on current conditions and actual meteorology/physics, become useless after about 8-10 days, as the "cone of uncertainty" becomes huge, due to the chaotic nature of weather (the butterfly effect).

The people who forecast beyond 2 weeks utilize analog-based "forecasting," where one compares the current state, globally, with states that were similar with respect to various global/regional indices (like El Nino, the Arctic Oscillation, the PDO, EPO, NAO, SO, etc.) in past years and then use essentially pattern recognition skills to find the best "match" - often the closest matches had similar evolutions from the current state through subsequent weeks or even months, so they then will "predict" that we'll have similar outcomes this in the current month/season.

The problem is this technique is fraught with errors and only some to most of the "matches" agree with each other, so it becomes a probabilistic analog-based forecast and I've yet to see anyone do this well yet (including the Farmer's Almanac) with the possible exception of Dr. Grey's seasonal tropical activity forecast, where he's been reasonably "accurate" (i.e., predicting above, below or average activity at maybe a 60% clip, as opposed to random guessing, which would be 33% accurate with 3 choices), but nowhere near as accurate as, say, a 5-day deterministic weather forecast. And keep in mind, for those who like to lambaste weather forecasts, the weather forecasts today are as accurate 5 days out as they were 3 days out 25 years ago – that’s an impressive improvement in prediction accuracy.

So, the cold air is poised to invade - beware the Polar Vortex!!!!! All kidding aside, this will be quite the anomalously cold air mass for Thursday into Saturday, with daytime highs in the 20s and lows in the teens, even in NYC (and single digits to the N and W). That's about 15-20F below normal (44/27F is about normal for now) and NYC could see its first sub-15F reading in December in nearly 10 years. Nothing people can't handle, but not weather to be caught out in either.

Then we have another SWFE (southwest flow event), somewhat similar to what we saw this past weekend, except this time there will be much colder air in place and the warm-up from the warm/moist SW flow (as the low pressure will be to our WNW across the Great Lakes) should be slower. The result is this one is more likely to provide some widespread minor accumulations for everyone early on Saturday before the changeover to rain by midday.

Some models are showing 2-4" for the I-95 corridor and 4-6" to the NW, while some are showing more like 1-2"/2-4". Still 4 days out, so this is just sharing the potential associated with this storm. While I was very skeptical of getting much snow this past weekend (which played out), I think there is a much greater chance of at least seeing an inch of snow everywhere with this one, based on the cold in place, the models, and what I'm reading.

Even the current worst case of several inches of snow, then rain, then a warm-up into the 50s on Sunday, would not be that impactful except for Saturday morning. Note that there is some chance of freezing rain in the usual colder locations N/W of the coastal plain/I-95 - that bears watching, especially given how cold the antecedent air mass is.

Peeking ahead, it looks to then get colder (highs in the 30s) again for Mon-Weds, followed by a bit of a warm-up - could be quite mild for Christmas, although that's still 12 days away and forecasts that far out usually suck.

Lastly, since a few folks asked, my wife was confirmed to have viral meningitis and was able to come home today. Hopefully, a few more days of bed rest and she'll be back to normal and able to go to FL for the holidays.
 
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Jabanero

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So recall the walk back to the lot / car after the State Penn game, cold freezing rain (sideways), angry, disgruntled, puzzled, and of course, the no sympathy whatsoever from the wife upon arriving home!
 

RutgersUnion

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Thanks for taking the time for these posts every winter. I also hope your wife is doing better. If my wife was out of commission for that long my son and I would probably starve :)
 
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RU848789

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These are good threads. I appreciate numbers posting this.
How bad will this snow be Saturday?

Too early to have much confidence, as snowfalls are notoriously hard to predict this far out, but the setup is certainly there for several hours of moderate to maybe heavy snowfall for much of the area between the wee hours and 9-10 am on Saturday before things warm up and change the precip over to rain in the late morning or early afternoon, depending on where one is.

Potential is there for 3-6" for most of Central/North Jersey (as per most of the current model runs), but if the warm air comes in faster, it might only be 1-2", at least from I-95 to the coast. If the heavier snows come down before 9 am on very cold surfaces, before the warm-up, travel would be pretty hazardous as the snow would accumulate on all roads, although even if there is decent snowfall early, with temps well above freezing by the afternoon for most, travel should improve. Lot of uncertainty, though, and nobody needs to stock up on milk and bread, lol.

Here's the relevant thread on AmericanWx - just realize that there is a ton of wishcasting and bad analysis in there. Just pay attention to the red taggers (real meteorologists).

https://www.americanwx.com/bb/topic/49366-dec-17-18-front-end-snowicerain-event/?page=3
 

RU848789

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848789-hope all is well with your wife and yourself. Question-Is it just bad luck your wife contracted multiple times? Is she a nurse? Due to travel? That kind of thing scares me.

She's improving steadily, thanks and has certainly become a medical oddity of sorts, as getting viral meningitis 4 times over about 35 years is extraordinarily rare, although the syndrome does have a name - Mollaret's Meningitis, which is simply recurrent viral meningitis.

The doctors have no idea, really, why anyone gets VM, per se - the vast majority of people exposed to the viruses commonly found in VM patients (enteroviruses and herpes viruses are the most common sources of VM) never get VM, so the real question is why does someone get VM.

She's not a nurse and doesn't travel much, but she's always had migraines and at first, whenever she's gotten VM, it looks just like a bad migraine, but then it gets worse and each time it was obvious she had something more serious than a migraine. It's certainly scary not knowing why or when the next occurrence may strike.
 

DJ Spanky

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Trash has been taken out.

#'s, hope your wife is doing better and will be well enough to make that trip.

Glad me and da boys split a bunch of firewood this past weekend. Sounds like a good few nights to have a merry fire going.
 
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SouthJerseyRU

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RU#s, hoping all goes well with your wife's recovery.

To you and everyone else who posts relevant information in the weather threads, thank you.
 
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bac2therac

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there is alot of wishcasting those higher amounts on the Weenie board. These overrunning events generally do not give more than 4 inchesin Central Jersey and are usually in that 1-3 range which alot of the models including the Euro which is 2-3 verbatim. Nam is 1-3 for most but its out of range right now. I think confidence is high we are going to get our first widespread snowfall. It surely will impact mall traffic and X Mas shoppers on the road so a nice little event just to give things a winter look and then we get the change to drizzle and dry slotting.
 

retired711

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The NWS is projecting 1-3 inches of snow for Cherry Hill, and 2-4 for Flemington (the places I drive to and from) for late Friday night into Saturday near noon. The chance of precipitation, they say, is from 90 to 100%. It should be only a nuisance -- I've lived in Chicago where people laugh at snowfalls like that -- but people should be careful on the roads.
 

RU848789

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Trash has been taken out.

#'s, hope your wife is doing better and will be well enough to make that trip.

Glad me and da boys split a bunch of firewood this past weekend. Sounds like a good few nights to have a merry fire going.

Thanks and thanks for the kind words. Today was her first day "home alone" as I worked all day and she did fine - she can now walk around a bit and do some light activities - this recovery is faster than last time, so we're confident she'll be good to go to FL late next week.

Definitely a good weekend for the fireplace - I'm sure we'll be enjoying the same. And we'll be able to see the snowfall through our new windows, lol (got the whole house done, along with new siding, replacing the 43 year old wood shakes).
 

RU848789

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Too early to have much confidence, as snowfalls are notoriously hard to predict this far out, but the setup is certainly there for several hours of moderate to maybe heavy snowfall for much of the area between the wee hours and 9-10 am on Saturday before things warm up and change the precip over to rain in the late morning or early afternoon, depending on where one is.

Potential is there for 3-6" for most of Central/North Jersey (as per most of the current model runs), but if the warm air comes in faster, it might only be 1-2", at least from I-95 to the coast. If the heavier snows come down before 9 am on very cold surfaces, before the warm-up, travel would be pretty hazardous as the snow would accumulate on all roads, although even if there is decent snowfall early, with temps well above freezing by the afternoon for most, travel should improve. Lot of uncertainty, though, and nobody needs to stock up on milk and bread, lol.

Here's the relevant thread on AmericanWx - just realize that there is a ton of wishcasting and bad analysis in there. Just pay attention to the red taggers (real meteorologists).

https://www.americanwx.com/bb/topic/49366-dec-17-18-front-end-snowicerain-event/?page=3

Confidence is growing in the first widespread >1" snowfall for the entire area, as we can expect some moderate to even heavy snow, at times, for several hours early Saturday morning, before a changeover to rain for almost everyone, eventually (by early afternoon - and rain and temps up into the 50s by early Sunday will wash most/all of the snow away). Only have a couple of minutes, but the NWS maps say it better than I could. At this point, looking like 1-2" near the coast 2-3" along I-95, 3-4" NW of I-95 and 4-6" well N/W, i.e., in the Poconos/Warren/Sussex/Western Passaic and the Hudson Valley. Sure, this can still change 2.5 days out, but at least some snow is looking likely.

StormTotalSnowWeb.png


StormTotalSnowWeb.png
 

RU848789

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The NWS is projecting 1-3 inches of snow for Cherry Hill, and 2-4 for Flemington (the places I drive to and from) for late Friday night into Saturday near noon. The chance of precipitation, they say, is from 90 to 100%. It should be only a nuisance -- I've lived in Chicago where people laugh at snowfalls like that -- but people should be careful on the roads.

Thought they really wrote a nice discussion on the event today - nicely detailed on the meteorology and the expected outcome. Still may change, but well done given what is known right now and modeled. And watch out for more freezing rain than forecast if the secondary low pops off the DelMarVa, as has been shown in a few of the ensemble members (when they do the model runs while varying some of the key initial conditions to assess the sensitivity of the model runs to small changes in those conditions), as that would shift the winds from S/SW back to ENE and possibly NE, slowing the progression of warm air, especially inland.

Friday night through Saturday night:

A high impact wintry event will move through the region. A strong
low pressure system will track northeast from the Southern Plains
into the midwest. With the high offshore, warm air advection will
increase and correspond with a warm front pushing northward.
Isentropic lift will combine with increased mid level vertical
velocities and frontogenesis forcing leading to the development
of precipitation late Friday night and Saturday which is highly
probable to become moderate or heavy at times. Wind gusts of 20
mph are possible as well in this timeframe.

The precipitation should start everywhere as snow but the warm air
advection will be potent (strong LLJ) with the high not in an ideal
place to keep cold air around for an extended period. The snow
should quickly change to rain Saturday morning across Delmarva and
coastal New Jersey south of Atlantic City. Further north the snow
will last a few hours longer in the Philadelphia and central New
Jersey regions changing over by noon. In Northern New Jersey, the
Lehigh Valley and Southern Poconos cold air is likely to hang on
throughout most of the day before seeing a changeover to rain. A
period of sleet and freezing rain is also probable at many
locations in the transition as the mid-levels warm faster than the
surface. For some of the valleys north and west, it may be more
of a challenge to scour out the low level cold resulting in an
extended period of ice. Models are notorious for getting rid of
low level cold too quick. One thing that could allow the cold to
hang on longer would be the formation of a secondary low off the
NJ coastline, which is a possibility shown on some ensemble
members.

First guess snow totals with a few locations listed for each
range. Will likely change based on track and intensity of system
in the coming days. Ratios may start out in the 10-15:1 as snow
growth looks favorable in the -10 to 20C layer along with the
favorable lift described above.

4-6 for Mount Pocono, Wantage, Reading, Allentown and Somerville.

2-4 for Wilmington, Philadelphia, Mount Holly and New Brunswick

1-2 for Dover, Millville northeast into the Pine Barrens

Less than an inch is currently expected for Georgetown and Cape
May.


http://forecast.weather.gov/product...&format=CI&version=1&glossary=1&highlight=off
 

retired711

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Thanks, RU848789. There seems to be a little uncertainty about the amount of snow, but that's to be expected. Anyway, it doesn't really make any difference whether one inch or four inches fall; either there will be enough to shovel or there won't be.

Either I will be driving to Flemington or my fiance will be driving down to Cherry Hill. Our plan is to do it Friday afternoon. (Being old, my night driving ability is not great, especially in precipitation). Fortunately, we have the flexibility to do this. There seems to be little doubt that the storm will not start until late-ish Friday night, and that there will be no precipitation before then.

I know you like snow, and my hope is that all the snow this winter falls between Christmas and New Year's, a week when Rutgers is closed and so I'll be working at home anyway.
 

retired711

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The NWS is sticking, for the moment, with a forecast for Flemington that may be 3-6 (1-2 Friday night, 2-4 Saturday morning.) Yes, this snow will melt starting Saturday afternoon, but it is a problem for anyone who wants to drive late Friday night or on Saturday morning, so people should be on the lookout. But I notice that the NWS in Mount Holly has not put out briefings for this storm the way they did for the last one, so maybe the NWS is more uncertain than usual.
 

RU848789

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The NWS is sticking, for the moment, with a forecast for Flemington that may be 3-6 (1-2 Friday night, 2-4 Saturday morning.) Yes, this snow will melt starting Saturday afternoon, but it is a problem for anyone who wants to drive late Friday night or on Saturday morning, so people should be on the lookout. But I notice that the NWS in Mount Holly has not put out briefings for this storm the way they did for the last one, so maybe the NWS is more uncertain than usual.

The NWS will usually not make major changes to a forecast with one model suite showing changes, especially when some models are still showing the same amounts (Euro and GFS are definitely less, though). If today's 12Z (7 am EST data input; output will be from 11 am to 1 pm roughly) model suite continues to show the decrease, then they'll likely lower amounts in their snowmaps/forecasts. They don't like to "ping-pong" with every set of models.

Did anyone out there south of about 195 get an inch or so of snow last night? The NWS had talked about snow squalls, which are very difficult to predict in location and extent (like lake effect snows or t-storms) and some folks got more than anyone expected.