Rain turned to snow about 9 p.m. Thursday as temperatures began to fall rapidly. The air temperature, which reached a high in the mid-40s on Thursday, will fall below 20 degrees by Friday morning.
The latest National Weather Service forecast calls for 4 to 7 inches of accumulated snow in Ocean City and Cape May County by Friday morning, while areas immediately to the north can expect 5 to 9 inches.
The Ocean City School District announced Thursday night that it will cancel classes on Friday.
The sky will begin to clear in Friday morning, but the high temperature will reach only 21 degrees — with northwest winds of 23 to 32 mph creating wind-chill value as low as -2 degrees. The low temperature on Friday night could fall as low as 4 degrees.
A coastal flood watch is in effect for Ocean City from late Thursday night through Friday afternoon. Exceptionally high spring tides are coinciding with the new moon. Atlantic City is expected to see moderate tidal flooding — with high tides at 6.5 to 7.0 feet above mean low water (by comparison Ocean City saw tide levels of 10.02 feet during Superstorm Sandy and 7.26 feet during a March 2013 nor'easter).
High tide at the Ninth Street Bridge on the bay side of Ocean City will be 9:22 a.m. on Friday (Jan. 3). Winds gusts up to 45 mph (northwest) could contribute to the flooding.
An advisory from the Ocean City Office of Emergency Management warned that roads will likely freeze as flood waters recede, leaving behind icy surfaces.
"Motorists are encouraged to use extreme caution, or to avoid driving all together until road conditions improve," the advisory said.
Snow and flooding are expected to be worse farther north along the New Jersey coastline.
Saturday's forecast calls for sun and a high temperature of 36 degrees.
Other closings and delays (please add your own in the comments section):
- Ocean City Home Bank branches are closed on Friday, Jan. 3.
- Richard Stockton College of New Jersey is closed on Friday, Jan. 3.
- Atlantic Cape Community College is closed on Friday, Jan. 3.
- All state offices will be closed on Friday, Jan. 3.