NJ weather: Enjoy the mini 2-day warmup while it lasts
The Bottom Line
Warm air advection, then a strong cold front. That flip-flopping back-and-forth is the story of autumn in New Jersey.
Seasonable 50s Wednesday will be followed by mild 60s (at least) on Thursday. Then we'll see a few hours of rain Thursday evening, followed by the return of cold air for Friday into the weekend.
A big storm system for early next week? I'm not convinced.
We are starting out the day very cold. (Yes, even colder than expected.) Temperatures crashed into the 20s for most of the state overnight. If you're not within a few miles of a coastline or in an urban center, you are frozen. And thermometers will not start to rise until about 8 or 9 a.m.
But Wednesday afternoon, temperatures will turn much more comfortable and seasonable than the cold snap of the last three days. The main driver of the warmup is simple "warm air advection" — a warmer air mass being transported into New Jersey by a (light) southerly wind.
Highs will hit the 55 to 60 degree range for most of the state. The northern third of the state (above I-78) will probably end up closer to 50.
We'll see a mix of sun and clouds, dry weather, and light winds throughout the day. Not too shabby.
Models still paint a few very light, very spotty sprinkles clipping northern New Jersey Wednesday evening. Otherwise, expect partly cloudy skies overnight. Patchy dense fog is a possibility. Low temperatures will only drop a few degrees, to around 50 degrees.
The peak of the warming trend. But also the end of the warming trend.
The daytime hours look great. High temperatures will push to around 65 to 70 degrees — that is 10 to 15 degrees above normal for mid-November. Clouds will increase as the day goes on. And so will the wind speed, progressing from "just breezy" to "pretty windy" by dinnertime.
As a frontal boundary passes from west to east across the state Wednesday evening, everyone in the state should see a few hours of rain. You'll need umbrellas and windshield wipers between about 6 p.m. and Midnight. Total rainfall should be less than a quarter-inch. Nothing crazy here: No severe weather, no lightning, no wintry weather, no destructive wind, no flash freeze.
Behind the front and the rain, we tap into a new, colder air mass. Thursday night, low temperatures will probably dip into the 30s across inland New Jersey. Back to the frost zone.
A return to unseasonably chilly weather. Morning lows in the upper 30s to lower 40s. Afternoon highs only reaching the upper 40s. It will become sunny, but breezy. Our weather will stay dry.
With Thanksgiving just eight days away, the holiday travel season is about to ramp up. That makes the weather forecast a bit more important and impactful, of course.
You'll have no weather issues on the roads, on the rails, or in the air this weekend. Having said that, be prepared for more chilly temperatures on Saturday. It could actually be the coldest day of the season so far with highs in the mid 40s, with increasing clouds.
We'll do better on Sunday, with temps pushing into the mid 50s. Skies will become mostly cloudy.
The Extended Forecast
Some forecasters out there have been really hyping up the possibility of a coastal storm (i.e. nor'easter) in the Monday-Tuesday time frame. A pretty dramatic possibility for the start of the big holiday week.
However, in my opinion, there's been very little model-to-model and run-to-run consistency regarding the track and impacts for that potential storm system. The latest outlook, as of this morning, does show a powerful storm developing off the coast. But the phasing is way off, putting it too far south and east to cause dramatic, dangerous, and/or havoc-wreaking issues here.
Having said that, a period of "just plain rain" is looking likely for Monday. As another burst of cool air arrives Tuesday, we could even see some widespread snow showers across the state.
But I'm holding my tongue on "blockbuster storm" potential for now. It's still 5 to 6 days away, plenty of time for the forecast to evolve. If something menacing is aiming for New Jersey, I promise you'll be among the first to know.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.