Friday NJ weather: Intense morning wind and rain, then tumbling temperatures
The Bottom Line
The springlike warmth comes to an abrupt end Friday morning, as a strong cold front drives heavy rain and gusty winds through New Jersey. The weather will turn quite stormy for a time through the morning commute.
But the wet and windy weather will not be an all-day thing. By late morning, skies will start to clear. And temperatures will start to tumble. It's going to feel much more February-ish by sunset Friday.
The President's Day Weekend features mixed news. Wind will once again become a problem Saturday afternoon. Sunday looks quiet but cold. And President's Day Monday will be the shining star of the holiday weekend.
Our weather turns downright nasty for a few hours Friday morning, as a squall line drives west to east across New Jersey. Everyone in the state should expect a brief period of heavy rain, along with a more prolonged push of wind. That wind continues to be our number one concern.
A Wind Advisory continues for all 21 counties of New Jersey through 10 a.m. Friday morning. Top gusts of 40 to 50+ mph are expected. (As of this writing, 6 a.m., the top gust so far has been 57 mph at Little Egg Harbor Township, Ocean County.)
Things will be a bit 'bonkers' for a few minutes during the morning commute. Then the heaviest rain and strongest winds will calm by mid-morning — let's say by 9 or 10 a.m. at the latest.
The rest of Friday will see clearing skies, a continuing stiff breeze, and tumbling temperatures. While we started the day in the tropical 60s, temperatures may fall into the 30s by sunset. Much more February-ish.
A freeze is likely across the state Friday night, with lows in the mid 20s. Skies will be clear and winds will continue to calm.
The morning hours look OK. We'll see a mix of sun and clouds, with highs pushing into the seasonable (near-normal) lower to mid 40s.
But another (weak) cold front will push through New Jersey around midday. That lift could be enough to spark a quick round of showers. Maybe rain, maybe snow. If precipitation leans toward the wintry side, the ground will likely be too warm to sustain any accumulation.
Saturday afternoon will get windy again. Northwesterly gusts may climb to 40 mph through early evening. (I wouldn't be surprised if we see another wind advisory, cautioning of power outages, tree damage, etc.)
A clear, calm morning will lead to some frigid temperatures. We'll start Sunday in the teens. And highs will only reach the mid 30s. It will be sunny and dry — just a stark difference to Thursday's and Friday's 60s.
President's Day Monday
Easily the nicest day of the holiday weekend. We'll enjoy lots of sunshine again, aside from some late-day clouds. Winds will be light. Weather will stay dry. And temperatures will be mild, warming into the lower 50s.
The Extended Forecast
The final full week of February looks unsettled, with more wild temperatures swings. There are two storm systems we are watching at this point.
The first will arrive early Tuesday morning. With temperatures in the 50s for the duration, this one will be another "rain only" system for NJ. Over an inch of total rain is possible before things wrap up Tuesday night. With about 48 percent of the state classified as "abnormally dry," there's no denying we could use the rain.
The second system will be in the Thursday-Friday time frame. It's going to be very track-dependent. If we end up on the cold side of the storm, there could be a substantial wintry component (snow, ice, and/or wintry mix). Because of that, we're not even going to hazard a guess as to the exact timing or impacts yet. But we'll definitely be watching the latest developments over the coming days.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.