Ocean and Monmouth counties can expect up to 3 inches of snow within the next 36 hours, meteorologists say, but warming temperatures are expected to change the precipitation to rain as the approaching storm winds down.
A winter weather advisory will be in effect for both counties from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, said meteorologist Kristin Kline of the National Weather Service's Mount Holly station.
At the Shore, the snow "will begin after midnight tonight and continue through the early part of tomorrow morning," Kline said. "Then it's going to change over to sleet, and there may even be a brief period of freezing rain."
(The difference? Sleet falls as frozen precipitation – think tiny ice pellets bouncing off your windshield. Freezing rain falls as rain, but because of low temperatures near the ground, it may quickly freeze on roadways and other surfaces.)
The further north you are in the region, the more snow you're likely to get, Kline said. Southern Ocean County may see just trace amounts, while Monmouth could get a solid 3 inches, she said. Northwestern New Jersey will likely get hit hardest, where colder temperatures will mean an all-snow storm that may dump up to 8 inches, she said.
Temperatures at the Shore are expected to rise throughout the day Saturday, possibly reaching the low 40s, "so it's expected to change over to rain by afternoon," said Kline.
There may be little snow left by the end of Saturday, "but it'll probably be a slushy mess during the morning and early tomorrow afternoon, so if anybody is going to be driving, they should be careful."