Area Gets Surprise Visit From Old Man Winter

Mar 28, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill A Surf City beach entrance on Thursday, March 22.

People who thought it was safe to put their snow removal gear in mothballs found out the hard way that those actions were a little premature. Winter Storm Toby (as named by the Weather Channel) blew through on Wednesday, March 21, starting off with rain, then mixed precipitation, and finally all snow by mid-afternoon.

By the time it exited early Thursday morning, parts of Southern Ocean County had a foot of wet, slushy snow. Trent Davis of the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly said Lacey Township had 15 inches, while Stafford and Barnegat townships both had a foot. Tuckerton recorded 9.5 inches.

“The snowfall totals got lower the further south and east you went,” he said. “Northern Ocean County and Monmouth County had the biggest totals in the state.”

He said accumulations on Long Beach Island were in the 4- to 6-inch range.

“It took a little longer for the changeover from snow to rain.” said Davis. 

The storm also represented the fourth nor’easter in March.

“It seems that March and February flip-flopped,” said Davis. “You usually get more of these storms in February.”

David Robinson, the state climatologist from Rutgers University, said that while a major snow event in spring is not unprecedented, to have these totals close to the coast is quite rare.

“In April 1982, there was a snowstorm that dropped a foot in Newark,” said Robinson. “But that’s northern New Jersey, where the temperatures are going to stay cold enough to snow, even in early April.”

Robinson said it is understandable that people might have thought snow events were done with, especially with a mild February.

“This February was the second warmest on record,” he said. “The warmest February was a year ago.” —E.E.

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