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New Jersey Prepares for Snow, Bitter Cold

New Jersey is preparing for a wintry double shot of snow and bitter cold Thursday and Friday.

Electronic sign on I-95 warns of bitter cold temperatures on Friday
Electronic sign on I-95 warns of bitter cold temperatures on Friday (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

All of New Jersey is under a Winter Storm Warning that went into effect at 1 p.m. although meteorologist Alan Kasper doesn’t expect the snow to start falling until this evening. Spotty light rain or a wintry mix is the only precipitation expected to fall during the day on Thursday.

Winds out of the north at 15-25 mph gusting to 30 mph will help create blowing and drifting of the light, fluffy snow on Thursday night that will create near blizzard conditions at times especially for areas farther east.Temperatures will drop into the single digits on Thursday night with wind chills ranging from -5 to -20.

The National Weather Service defines blizzard conditions as sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles an hour or greater, considerable falling and/or blowing snow and visibility of a 1/4 mile for at least a 3 hour period.

Drivers are being advised to keep a flashlight, food, water and a blanket in their vehicle in case of an emergency.

In New York State, The Long Island Expressway, I-87 south and I-84 will all close at midnight to allow for snow removal until at least 5 a.m.

Hear Alan Kasper’s forecast below:

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Preparing for the Storm

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management is monitoring the storm along with a number of state agencies and organizations. “We are facing three hazards – snow, high winds and extremely low wind chills,” Colonel Rick Fuentes, State Police Superintendent and Director of the NJ Office of Emergency Management told the Lakewood Scoop.  “We are closely monitoring the situation with our partners from NJ State Agencies, the National Weather Service and the County Offices of Emergency Management.

More than 1,800 U.S. flights were canceled for Thursday, with O’Hare and Newark Liberty International most affected according to the website FlightAware.com.

Ocean County road crews are applying a brine to the road in anticipation of the snow. However, the bitter cold may limit its effectiveness.

In anticipation of the storm, NJ Transit will have system-wide cross-honoring of tickets in effect on Thursday and Friday for all rail, light rail and bus including private bus carriers. Crews and equipment will be ready to deal with downed trees and power outages during the storm. Locomotives will be placed at strategic locations across the rail system to rapidly respond in the event of a disabled train.

The Port Authority will also be ready with extra personnel on duty to monitor conditions on PATH trains as well as on the bridges and tunnels.More than 200 pieces of snow equipment will be available at the airports including melters that can treat up to 500 tons of snow an hour and plows that can clear snow at 40 mph.

PSE&G is making sure all its available personnel are ready to respond to heavy snow, icing and strong winds. They are arranging for contractors and tree crews to be on standby. The utility says they have extra poles, transformers and other pole-top equipment available.

Amtrak will be running a modified schedule on the Northeast Corridor on Friday.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Be ready to report your snow closings on NJ1015.com.]


SNOW ACCUMULATION:

The heaviest snowfall is expected between sunset Thursday and sunrise Friday where snow could fall at the rate of an inch-an-hour at the height of the storm on Thursday night. Wind gusts of over 30 mph will create near-blizzard conditions.

  • 6-8 inches for most of the state south to Gloucester and Burlington counties
  • 4-6 inches is expected throughout south Jersey

TIMING:

  • The snow starts as a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain on Thursday afternoon and turn to all snow on Thursday night as temperatures drop rapidly into the single digits with strong northwest winds making for subzero wind chill. The snow ends on Friday morning as temperatures struggle to reach 20.Near record low temperatures are possible on Saturday morning. Friday’s morning commute will likely be a difficult one.

COLD:

  • Bitter cold air will move in to New Jersey on Thursday night as the snow falls, plunging temperatures into the single numbers with a wind chill below zero. “We’re talking about dangerous cold,” David Robinson, the state climatologist at Rutgers University told the Star-Ledger. “It’s going to be the type of cold where people have to be prepared. Keep a blanket in the car. It’s not like a normal cold day where you just put on a sweater and go to the store.”

Cold temperatures could affect how effective roadway chemicals are and lead to burst water pipes. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wrapping exterior pipes to decrease the chance of bursting. The CDC says you should travel with at least half-a-tank of gas to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

FLOODING:

A Coastal Flood Watch is in effect for all of the Jersey Shore for moderate coastal flooding is possible with the Friday morning high tide with the Monmouth & Ocean counties at the highest risk. Very cold temperature will cause icing problems due to blowing spray along all coastal sections. Roadways that flood due to the coastal flooding will ice over.

Get the latest on the storm by texting WEATHER to 89000.

NJ 101.5 SMS Alerts (Max 8msg/mth); T&C and Privacy Policy at 89000.mobi. Reply STOP to opt-out or HELP for help.  Msg & Data rates may apply.

 

Revised expected snow accumulations from Thursday night's storm
Revised expected snow accumulations from Thursday night’s storm (NWS)

MORE COVERAGE:

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