The Atlantic City area had its fourth snowiest January on record and South Jersey may see even more of the white stuff next week.
State Climatologist David Robinson said at least three storms with the potential for snow will approach the region in the first full week of February, a month that is often “neck-and-neck” with January in terms of snowfall totals. The outcome will be determined by what track the storms take.
“If the storm comes close to New Jersey or to the west, it brings in enough mild air that it’ll bring New Jersey rain,” he said. “If it tracks off the coast, that keeps the cold air entrenched and close enough to drop precipitation as snow, such as the storm earlier (last) week.”
Following a similar pattern as the end of December and start of January, when “dips and ridges” in the jet stream brought alternating cold and warm air, next week’s storms are expected to arrive Monday, Wednesday and again next weekend.
“It suggests these two weeks will be pretty active with frequent storm threats,” Robinson said.
As for Atlantic City’s near-record-breaking January, Robinson said the data can be misleading. Weather data has been recorded from the Atlantic City International Airport since 1958. Before then, and dating back to 1874, readings were taken at the Atlantic City marina.
“(The real record) could be a little different because of that,” he said. “Generally, there should be more snow inland, although sometimes storms hug the coast.”
But January has still been a noteworthy month for snowfall. New Brunswick in Middlesex County, for instance, saw its fifth snowiest January while the state as a whole saw its eighth.
Last month’s large snowfall totals weren’t the result of any one storm, but the cumulative effect of multiple storms. The only single day to break the top ten for snowfall at the airport was last week’s storm, which brought 7.3 inches on January 29. The two other major storms brought 7.5 inches and 4 inches spread across two days.
“Those are three plow-able storms within the month,” Robinson said, noting that a succession of snowstorms is uncommon for South Jersey.
But it’s short-sighted to draw any conclusions about climate change based on one snowy month, Robinson said.
“Changes in climate do not mean an overnight cessation of every cold and snowy episode,” he said. “I’m also not going to buy into the idea that snows are worse because the globe is warming.”
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