NJ weather: An unsettled week, with temperamental temperatures
The Bottom Line
Over the course of the next week, we have three or four spurts of rain on the way. (Including some thunderstorms and pockets of heavy stuff Monday morning.) Plus, more clouds than sun. And we face that classic on-shore wind direction, blowing off the chilly ocean. That all combines to make a forecast full of variety.
I believe the most important part of my job is to highlight when "dangerous" weather is imminent. And I don't see any of that this week. It will be inclement and unsettled. Occasionally wet and cloudy. But there will be some (limited) glimmers of pleasant springtime weather along the way too. So let's try to pinpoint the "good" and the "bad," the "nice" and the "nasty".
As I write this, it is pouring outside my window. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are sweeping through the state to start your Monday. The heaviest rain and loudest thunder are located along the middle of the state: Mercer, Middlesex, and Monmouth counties. (That geography is going to be important later on too.)
Hopefully, the rain will wash some pollen out of the air too. If you're sneezing, you're not alone — allergy levels are high to very high.
The rain is only a morning thing. By 8 a.m., most of the state should dry out, with final raindrops by about 11 a.m.
The forecast for Monday afternoon depends totally on where in the state you are. North of the heavy rain area — i.e. north of Mercer-Middlesex-Monmouth — I'm afraid you'll be stuck under clouds, fog, and drizzle for most of the day. That will keep high temperatures in the upper 50s to lower 60s. Rather disappointing.
Meanwhile, south of the downpour district — i.e. south of Mercer-Middlesex-Monmouth — and away from the coast, sunshine will break out. And temperatures will soar. We should see lower to mid 70s across inland South Jersey Monday afternoon. Nice and warm.
With that frontal boundary in the neighborhood, there is a chance for some isolated showers and thunderstorms to popup late-day. Most likely in the 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. time frame.
Otherwise, Monday night will be mostly cloudy and comfortably cool. Low temps should settle around a seasonable 50 degrees.
I think we'll squeeze out a decent day. Although keep in mind, normal high temperatures will hit 70 degrees this week. So anytime we don't hit 70 now, it is an unseasonably cool day.
Tuesday highs will reach the mid 60s across most of the state. However, a prominent northeast-to-southeast breeze will keep coastal areas significantly cooler. Barrier islands in particular will probably be stuck in the 50s at best.
Our next storm system and chance for rain will come in late Tuesday. A few showers will be possible through Tuesday evening. And then the "main event" with a period of steadier, heavier rain would be Wednesday morning.
A wet start, but a dry finish. Forecast models are clearing out rain by lunchtime Wednesday, leading to a decent afternoon. Mostly cloudy and lower to mid 60s.
Thursday reads like the exact opposite of Wednesday: A good start, but a wet finish. We'll see some breaks of sun through the morning and afternoon hours on Thursday. That will help high temperatures push toward 70 degrees. (Away from the Shore, at least.)
At the moment, Thursday's daytime hours look OK. But our next next chance of rain will arrive Thursday night.
Possibly the wettest day of the week. The latest forecast puts moderate to occasionally heavy rain through at least Friday morning. And I wouldn't be surprised to see raindrops linger into the afternoon. It will be cloudy, keeping temperatures at bay. Highs will only reach about 60 degrees, give or take. Again, keep in mind, that is almost 10 degrees below normal for early May.
The Extended Forecast
With a storm system parking just off the coast, this weekend stays unsettled. And it could get miserably cool too.
Saturday currently looks drizzly, cloudy, and cool. Some guidance is showing high temperatures stuck in the 40s — that is quite unseasonable for this point of the season. I've opted for more reasonable upper 50s for highs, but that is a low confidence call at this point. It won't be a very nice day, but it's not a total washout. (I've had several people ask me about outdoor events on Saturday — including my own family. Stay tuned for a more confident picture as it gets closer.)
Sunday is Mother's Day. And it should be mainly dry, although some pockets of showery, drizzly weather can't be ruled out. Mostly cloudy skies. And similarly temperamental temperatures, somewhere between the 40s and the 60s.
Looking for sunny, dry, warm weather? Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until mid-May, about 10 days away.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.