The Bottom Line
Welcome to the first full day of Spring. We've had a number of "Spring-tastic" weather days lately. And you can add both Monday and Tuesday to that list, with sunshine, dry weather, and above-normal temperatures.
However, the big weather story in New Jersey's forecast is an extended period of unsettled, wet weather. Through the second half of the workweek — Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday — we're looking at an inch or two of healthy rainfall. However, exactly when the steadiest raindrops arrive is up in the air.
Monday morning is actually starting out slightly warmer than I expected, with more temperatures in the 40s. (No complaints there.) Don't be ashamed to reach for a jacket and/or flick on the heat in your car.
Highs on Monday will hit 60 degrees across most of the state. Both morning and afternoon temperatures will run about 5 to 10 degrees above normal for late March.
Sunny skies. Dry weather. And an occasional breeze, blowing out of the northwest over 20 mph.
Monday night will be quiet too. As a few clouds creep into the sky, low temps will descend to the lower 40s or so. Model guidance paints a little sprinkle over northern New Jersey after Midnight — but I question whether the air will be too dry to sustain raindrops. Therefore, I've left my on-air forecast dry, but the chance isn't zero.
Another pleasant day. A lighter breeze will be countered by additional cloud cover. In general, highs will scale back slightly to the upper 50s. Along the immediate coast, Jersey Shore beaches could end up considerably cooler with a more prominent sea breeze.
Again, some models do show the chance of a shower Tuesday afternoon. If it happens (and that's a big if), raindrops would be limited and light.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
A midweek pattern chance will be just what the "drought doctor" ordered. Bouts of healthy rainfall and miserable weather will be with us for some portion of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. But none of those three days look like a total washout.
When I'm crafting a weather forecast, I'm looking for consistency. I want all our forecast models to say the same thing, from model to model and from run to run. Those models are completely independent of each other. So when they paint the same picture, that gives us high confidence about how a forecast will play out.
Unfortunately, that is not the case for this late-week storm system. So we're still going to play this stormy setup day-by-day, trying to nail down when it's going to rain and when we might catch some dry weather.
At the moment, it looks like spotty showers early Wednesday will turn to scattered rain late-day (starting around mid-afternoon). Because of clouds, raindrops, and an on-shore breeze, temperatures will be stuck in the 40s at best.
Then we'd catch a relative lull in rainfall action on Thursday. It won't be completely dry, but there will be breaks in the cloud cover. Furthermore, a warm front lifting through the southern half of the state will force a big temperature gradient across the state. Highs range from the mid 40s in North Jersey, to the lower 60s in South Jersey.
As the main area of low pressure passes by Thursday night into Friday, we'll probably see the steadiest rain of the week. It could even be heavy at times, with rumbles of thunder. However, the ground is pretty thirsty, so the threat for flooding is limited. And our risk of wintry weather is zero.
High temperatures on Friday should settle in the low-mid 50s, with late-day clearing.
The Extended Forecast
How next weekend will play out will depend wholly on the progression of the Wed-Thu-Fri system. It does not look like we'll face an enormous shove of arctic air. Having said that, temperatures will be at or below seasonal normals. Our latest outlook puts Saturday in the 50s, with sun and clouds and a lingering shower chance. Sunday does look blustery, with highs potentially stuck in the 40s.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.