Heavy snow to snarl travel this evening; near blizzard-like conditions possible

    If you’re planning on hitting the road after sunset, you may want to reconsider. 

    As two systems converge off the New Jersey and Delaware coastlines this evening, the storm will rapidly intensify and deliver fluffy, dry snow, according to the local National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, NJ. 

    Gary Szatkowski, head meteorologist at the Mount Holly office, tweeted earlier that today is “probably not a good day to work late,” referring to the quickly deteriorating conditions during rush hour.

    The latest National Weather Service briefing advises that the heaviest snowfall is likely between sunset Thursday and sunrise Friday. 

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    “There may be a several hour period where snowfall rates exceed an inch an hour. At the same time, winds will be increasing with gusts over 30 mph. Near blizzard-conditions are likely,” the bulletin warns. A forecast discussion by the service notes that a “blizzard warning” may be issued for Monmouth and Ocean counties today “if conditions warrant.” Travel will be difficult due to blowing snow. 

    The service has increased snowfall totals at the shore and in southern areas, with a general 6-8 inches expected in the northern shore areas and Philadelphia suburbs and 4-6 inches further to the south. 

    Additional concerns, according to the briefing:

    Temperatures will drop rapidly tonight into Friday. Subzero wind chills are likely late tonight into Friday across the area. Low temperatures Saturday morning will be mainly in the single digits, with subzero temperatures in the Poconos & northern NJ. 
    Moderate coastal flooding is possible with the Friday morning high tide along the Atlantic Coast, the Raritan Bay & Delaware Bay. The highest risk of moderate coastal flooding is in the Raritan Bay, and the Atlantic Coasts of Monmouth & Ocean counties.
    Very cold temperature will cause icing problems due to blowing spray along coastal sections. Roadways that flood due to the coastal flooding will ice over.

    The storm will wind down Friday morning, but forecasters say that “patchy blowing snow” will be an issue Friday and the bitter cold will remain, peaking Saturday morning then warming for Sunday. 

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