In a winter heretofore bereft of snow scares, this is going to be one banner week.
The latest model runs are suggesting a monstrous coastal storm -- or nor'easter -- with the potential to generate prodigious amounts of snow, on the order of the storms of 1996 and 2009-10.
If weather forecasting had something akin to a fantasy-football league, we'd guess that the European model, Euro, would be a top draft choice. Here is Glenn Schwartz's analysis.
At last look, the Euro was in the big-storm camp, and as Glenn posted on Monday afternoon, this threat has strong scientific arguments in its favor. The National Weather Service forecast includes a 90 precent probability of snow Friday night, a rare level of near-certainty this far out.
But we would urge caution before joining the season's first weather-related supermarket stampede.
We remind our readers that the atmosphere, that 10-mile-deep fluid attached to a ball spinning at 1,000 m.p.h., is an immensely complex place.
But the most important factor to consider right now is the calendar – this is Monday, and any storm would not affect the area until late Friday into Saturday, given the current timetable.
From experience, we can safely predict that computer models are likely to waffle on the magnitude of the event, at least during the next few days.
If you want to track the progress of the forecasts,we are fortunate to have the NBC10 folks posting on our site. Here's the latest from Glenn.
We also highly recommend checking out the National Weather Service's daily discussions.
In the Monday morning version, the forecasters make a couple of critical points. For one, models hadn't shown much in the way of run-to-run continuity.
Also, the upper-level feature that will be a key component of whatever happens still was out over the Pacific and hadn't yet been captured by the upper-air observation network.
We'd also voting for monitoring the tweets of Gary Szatkowski, who runs the local weather-service office, in Mount Holly.
If you want to follow the ongoing adventures and misadventures of the computer models, check out our favorite weather chat board.
We warn, however, that some of the discussion is on the technical side, and it is not for the weak of heart.
The potential for a blockbuster nor'easter is looking ever more likely. Such storms often are associated with major El Niño warming in the Pacific, and the one cooking now is one of strongest on record. Coastal storms are roughly the last things that the Jersey beach need.