First 'Major' Snow In Northeast Could Come Before Thanksgiving

New Jersey and Pennsylvania could become some sort of winter wonderland even before the holidays arrive, according to forecasters.

Signs are pointing toward a displacement of the "polar vortex," accompanied by a significant storm with rain, snow, and wind impacting New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Northeast during the days prior to Thanksgiving, according to an AccuWeather release.

"There is the risk for the first major snowstorm somewhere in the Northeast during the period from Saturday, Nov. 18, to Tuesday, Nov. 22," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said in a release.

The polar vortex is a storm that typically hangs out within the Arctic Circle. Arctic air is usually locked up within the bounds of this storm.

"One such southward displacement of arctic air is in progress and will sweep across the Upper Midwest and Northeast into this weekend," according to Pastelok. "A second southward displacement is possible around the days prior to Thanksgiving.


Such a storm can pose major travel problems should the storm grab the cold air fast enough to produce heavy snow inland and heavy rain and wind on the coast. Beginning next weekend, travel typically ramps up as some people begin to head to Thanksgiving destinations, according to the release.

Regardless of the storm potential, people planning on traveling by car this Thanksgiving should make sure their vehicle is prepared for winter travel conditions. A set of tires with decent tread, new wiper blades and adequate fluids are a good start in advance of the trip, according to the release.

The magnitude and path of the cold air as well as the exact formation and track of the storm may become clear later next week.

In this case, the risk may extend to part of the Atlantic coast. For parts of the Midwest and the Northeast, the arctic blast may bring cold air farther south than the event this weekend.

A hazardous weather outlook, meanwhile, has been issued for parts of North Jersey and Pennsylvania this week as an arctic front is expected to pass through the region late Thursday night, bringing January like temperatures to the area Friday into Saturday.

Record low temperatures are possible Friday Night, with temperatures falling into the upper teens to lower 20s for the urban corridor and lower to mid teens across the interior.

Here is the weather forecast:

  • Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 50. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph in the afternoon.
  • Thursday night: Isolated showers before midnight. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly clear, with a low around 31. Light and variable wind becoming northwest 6 to 11 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
  • Friday: Sunny, with a temperature falling to around 29 by 5 pm. Wind chill values between 15 and 25. Breezy, with a northwest wind 16 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph.
  • Friday night: Clear, with a low around 17. Northwest wind 7 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.
  • Veterans Day: Sunny, with a high near 38. North wind 5 to 8 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon.
  • Saturday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 17.