If the “worst case scenario” occurs, nearly 30 inches of snow will be on the ground in Monmouth County by Sunday morning, according to the latest National Weather Service forecast.
The “most likely” snowfall amounts at the Jersey Shore range from 16 inches in Monmouth County and northern Ocean County and progressively less down to around 6 inches in Cape May County.
(See “worst case” and “most likely” maps here.)
As of 4:30 p.m., snow is already falling in Cape May County and will continue to overspread the Shore over the next several hours.
Forecasters say to plan for the possibility of scattered power outages due to strong winds and heavy, wet snow along with coastal flooding for three high tide cycles.
At the coast, northeast winds will be gusting up to 60 miles per hour tonight through tomorrow, progressively decreasing inland. By tomorrow night, the wind direction will turn to the north and will begin to lessen by Sunday.
Accordingly, forecasters expect blizzard conditions on Saturday in central and northern shore areas due to blowing snow and poor visibility. Roads might also become impassable due to heavy snowfall rates. Travel will be dangerous.
NOAA defines blizzard conditions as the following for at least three hours: “Sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles an hour or greater and considerable falling and/or blowing snow (i.e., reducing visibility frequently to less than ¼ mile).”
Scattered power outages are possible due to the strong winds and the heavier, wetter snow that will accumulate on power lines and weigh down tree branches.
Forecasters expect widespread moderate coastal flooding and embedded areas of major coastal flooding in Ocean County and Atlantic counties for three consecutive high tide cycles due to the strong onshore flow pushing water against the coast and into the back bays and estuaries. But flooding will not reach record levels.
In Cape May County, forecasters expect widespread major coastal flooding on tomorrow morning, with moderate to embedded major flooding from tomorrow night into Sunday morning.
(See list of voluntary and mandatory evacuations here.)
Many roadways will flood, and minor to moderate property damage is likely. Significant beach erosion is likely.
In Monmouth County, guidance suggests widespread minor coastal flooding during the day tomorrow, increasing to moderate levels from the night through Sunday morning.
High tide occurs along the oceanfront between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning, 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Saturday night, and 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Sunday. High tide on the back bays occurs later than the oceanfront.