Big change coming: NJ’s weather forecast trends wetter and colder
The Bottom Line
Tuesday will be New Jersey's 9th day in a row with above-normal temperatures. It has been a delightful stretch of springlike weather. But Tuesday will also be the last day of the streak, as our next storm system arrives on Wednesday.
Everyone in New Jersey will get wet, if not soaked, by 1+ inch of rain between Wednesday and Thursday. The precise timing of raindrops vs. dry is still shaky. But it's clear this one is just a rain maker — no snow, no flooding, no big wind, no severe thunderstorms.
The long-range forecast, through the rest of March, trends colder. It's important to note that New Jersey's growing season has not started yet — we still have frosts and freezes coming up. (It's only March, after all.)
Compared to Monday, Tuesday will feature three minor changes to our weather picture: 1.) a slightly cooler air mass, 2.) more cloud cover, 3.) a more prominent sea breeze. The end result: High temperatures will end up a few degrees cooler.
Morning lows are a bit cooler too, as we begin the day in the 30s and 40s. You'll definitely want a jacket early on. And then you might be able to ditch it later on, depending largely on the degree of sunshine and the wind speed where you are.
Look for highs reaching the upper 50s to around 60 degrees Tuesday afternoon. Again, a bit cooler than Monday. But still above normal for this time of year. Skies will average "partly sunny" across the day.
The only little snag worth mentioning is the chance of an afternoon sprinkle, mainly to the southwest.
Tuesday night will also be quiet. But also cold. As low temperatures dip into the mid 30s, frost is possible (away from cities and coastal areas).
Over a span of 36 to 48 hours, between Wednesday and Thursday, an area of low pressure will drive rain, a warm front, and a cold front through New Jersey.
Wednesday morning looks OK. There could be some spotty light showers around. But the steadier, heavier stuff will come later.
Rain chances will increase through Wednesday afternoon and evening. As I mentioned earlier, the start and end time of "the steady stuff" is a bit fuzzy, so keep the umbrella handy. It will be cloudy and cool, at the very least. High temperatures will struggle to reach 50 degrees.
Wednesday night looks wet. Temperatures will only drop a few degrees. (In fact, thermometers will probably start to rise across the southern half of the state.)
The chance of rain showers will stay alive. Although once the "main batch" of rain wraps up, the wet weather will become much more scattered and occasional.
Thursday's big challenge is the temperature forecast. With a thermal boundary parked right through the middle of New Jersey, we face a wide range of temperatures from top to bottom of the state. I estimate high temperatures will reach the mid 40s in North Jersey, low-mid 50s in Central Jersey, and lower 60s in South Jersey.
The biggest piece of news in the latest forecast is that Friday looks dry. And, despite the passage of a cold front in the early morning hours, we should squeeze out mild temperatures for one more day. All good news here.
Substantial breaks of sun will join a brisk westerly breeze, up to 20 mph. High temperatures should pop to around 60 degrees. Although I favor a dry daytime forecast Friday, an isolated shower can't be ruled out at some point.
The Extended Forecast
The final piece of our impending transition will come this weekend, as cooler air takes hold of the Garden State.
Saturday should be partly sunny and breezy, with seasonable (near-normal) high temps in the mid 50s.
Sunday looks like the colder day of the weekend, with highs only in the 40s.
Even more prominently, widespread freezes will be back in play by next week. Models are showing widespread 20s for Monday morning (away from the Jersey Shore). That's freezing cold! And again, a sign that the growing season hasn't quite arrived yet.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.