The National Weather Service is warning commuters that Tuesday’s winter storm could create “very hazardous travel conditions” in New Jersey because of the heavy snow that’s predicted in the northern half of the state and strong gusty winds that could knock down trees and trigger isolated power outages.
Gov. Phil Murphy echoed the weather service’s concerns, saying residents should expect a “fairly treacherous mix” of rain and snow. And although he didn’t declare a state of emergency, he advised people to avoid driving during the worst of the storm, expected Tuesday morning when the rain changes to snow in many parts of the state.
“If you can, stay off the roads tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. If you can work from home, tomorrow is a good day to do that,” Murphy said during a storm briefing Monday afternoon at the Statehouse in Trenton.
”We have a fairly significant storm on our way,” the governor added. “We want to make sure everyone in New Jersey is prepared. … Take this one seriously.”
In addition to potentially slick roads, Murphy said the state is preparing for power outages because this will be a heavy, wet snow.
New Jersey will have a commercial vehicle ban starting at midnight, and state offices will have a delayed opening Tuesday at 10 a.m., Murphy announced.
Forecasters dealing with a tricky storm
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service and other forecasters have been struggling to get a good handle on the fast-moving storm, with major computer guidance models projecting variations in the storm track, storm strength and temperatures at different levels of the atmosphere.
Those factors will all determine how much moisture will be feeding into the storm, as well as how many hours of rain and snow will fall in each region of the state. But the bottom line, the weather service’s regional office in Mount Holly noted on its X feed, is the storm’s impacts will be widespread.
“Regardless of exactly how much snow or rain you get tonight through Tuesday, the Tuesday morning commute will be either snowy, slushy, or wet for our entire area,” the agency said. “You should plan for a slow commute.”
Forecasters from AccuWeather noted a slight shift in the storm track could result in colder air and heavier snow for many places, including central and southern New Jersey, although that’s not likely at this time.
“A more southern track by as little as 50-100 miles could push a heavy accumulation of snow farther to the south into the center city of Philadelphia and the five boroughs that makeup New York City and much of Long Island, New York,“ AccuWeather said in a forecast update Monday afternoon. “This more southern track could also bring some accumulating snow to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, as well as Wilmington, Delaware, central and southern New Jersey and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.”
Winter storm warnings in 10 counties
As of early Monday evening, winter storm warnings have been issued in 10 New Jersey counties: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.
A winter storm watch has been posted for Mercer, Middlesex and western Monmouth counties, where rain is forecast to change to snow very early Tuesday morning.
In addition, coastal flood warnings have been issued in Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties, and wind advisories have been issued in coastal sections of Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth and Ocean — where winds could gust as high as 45 to 50 mph during Tuesday’s storm.
Current weather radar
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