A winter storm watch was issued early Thursday morning for most of New Jersey, with the National Weather Service now warning that up to a foot of snow is possible in every county at the Shore.
The watch goes into effect at 7 p.m. Friday and will remain in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday, according to the weather service.
The snow is expected after 7 p.m. Friday, with a low air temperature of about 20 degrees on Friday night. A north wind of between 5 and 10 mph will increase to 15 and 20 mph after midnight. The chance of snow Friday is 90%.
On Saturday, the snow will continue to fall with a high temperature near 26 degrees and a north wind of 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. The chance of snow Saturday is 80%.
Conditions will be “blustery” throughout the storm, all according to the weather service.
On Wednesday night, there remained uncertainty about the severity of the impending nor’easter. Even the slightest shift in the storm’s track between now and Friday night could make the difference between a few inches and more than a foot of snow.
Meteorologist Steven DiMartino, who operates the website nynjpaweather.com, said in his webcast Wednesday night that two places as little as 20 miles apart could see hugely disproportionate snowfall totals.
See projected inch counts: How much snow is expected in New Jersey this weekend?
“Like, for example, Philadelphia ends up with 2 inches, but then Mount Holly or Freehold ends up with over a foot of snow. I can definitely see that happening,” DiMartino said. “I could see 20 inches in Belmar and 3 inches in Trenton. I could see that happening, based on the evolution of this storm.”
Right now, the American and European computer models that meteorologists rely on to provide accurate forecasts do not agree on the severity of the storm. The former warns of an event that looks similar to a winter scene in a Christmas snow globe. The latter warns of an event that looks similar to a winter scene in a Stephen King story.
DiMartino told his viewers Wednesday that his own current forecast — based on his analysis of the two — indicates that much of the Jersey Shore may get 10 to 14 inches of snow.
“And by the way, major coastal flooding,” he warned.
New York City and parts of North Jersey may get between 5 to 10 inches of snow, he said.
The map of estimated snowfall totals from the weather service shows that much the Interstate 95 corridor may get 6 to 8 inches of snow, while parts of North Jersey could see accumulations of between 4 to 6 and 3 to 4 inches, according to the weather service.
The farther one moves west, the more the anticipated snowfall amounts diminish.
The storm is expected to arrive Friday night and continue through Saturday with snow, strong winds and coastal flooding providing all the ingredients for trouble — particularly at the Shore. Gale force winds and rough seas will also be a hazard to marine traffic.
On Wednesday, the federal weather service said in its event summary posted on social media, that “while confidence is high that a storm will occur, the details including snow totals will ultimately depend upon the track of the storm. A farther offshore track will result in accumulating snow shifting eastward.”
Right now, the weather service remains cautious in the wording of its forecast, noting there is a “potential for significant snow accumulations of 6 inches or more across portions of the region” and “minor coastal flooding possible” on Saturday.
The worst of the storm will be between I-95 and the coast, with New Jersey and Delaware getting the brunt of it in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Nevertheless, the event is still developing and the forecast is subject to change.
Erik Larsen: 732-682-9359 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: NJ weather: Winter storm watch for weekend, foot of snow possible