NJ weather: Mild temps continue for now, arctic blast this weekend
The Bottom Line
I hate to be a party-pooper, but this stretch of mild weather is not going to last long. No, winter is not over yet.
Widespread 50s are expected across much of New Jersey on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with mainly dry weather conditions.
But then things will turn decidedly more wintry on Sunday. Definitely colder. Possibly snowy.
Early Thursday morning, we had some light showers push through the northern half of the state. There could be some slippery spots where the ground is especially cold (NW NJ, bridges, and overpasses). As of this writing (6 a.m.), those sprinkles and flurries have exited. And the rest of the day looks dry.
The rest of Thursday looks quite pleasant too, as thermometers shoot a few degrees higher than Wednesday. Highs between 50 and 55 degrees will be about 10 degrees above normal for early to mid February. More typical of mid to late March — a little taste of Spring.
Skies will be partly sunny to start, although they may become bluer as the day goes on. It will be noticeably breezy too, blowing out of the southwest at 20+ mph.
Thursday night should be quiet, clear, and chilly. Forecast lows are in the lower to mid 30s, around the freezing mark. Keep in mind, normal lows are firmly in the 20s, so even nights and mornings are running warmer-than-normal.
Another nice day. Expect mostly sunny skies, with late-day clouds building in. High temperatures should reach the lower 50s.
Some models do show some rain showers creeping in late Friday night to early Saturday morning. I've left them out of my "official" on-air forecast though, as I see raindrops largely fizzling before reaching New Jersey.
The grand finale of our grand warmup, likely our warmest day of the week.
High temperatures push into the mid 50s, despite lots of clouds and a shower chance. I suppose there's a slight chance that somewhere in South Jersey hits 60, but the cloud cover and approaching cold front will make that difficult.
That's right, a cold front will put a definitive end to the mild weather starting Saturday night. As colder air returns, on a brisk northerly wind, thermometers will likely dip well into the 20s (if not teens) by Sunday morning.
Ouch, what a difference. Sunday will be a full 25 degrees colder than Saturday. I expect the entire state to be stuck below freezing all day, with a high temperature only around 30 degrees.
The other issue that comes with a big arctic chill, of course, is the threat of wintry weather. More specifically, as the aforementioned cold front drifts just south and east of New Jersey, a developing area of low pressure is expected to track along it. If that storm track is close enough to the Jersey Shore, we could see a period of widespread snow at some point on Sunday.
A few additional bullet points on the potential Sunday storm system:
—If the storm wiggles close enough to NJ, it would likely produce all snow. (If the center comes very close to the Shore, there could be some mixing and/or straight rain involved.)
—I'm having flashbacks of the blizzard from two weeks ago — when we couldn't make a confident forecast call until 48 hours before, and then we got clobbered. Since this is so track-dependent (again), it may not be until last-minute until we can be truly confident in what's going to happen (again).
—Having said that, the latest models show a "miss" of the main coastal low Sunday night. However, the guidance now suggests an additional piece of energy could produce some (accumulating) snow during the day Sunday.
—Given the uncertainty, it is too early to talk about a definitive timeline or to start ringing alarm bells for accumulations and/or travel impacts. It's still worth watching.
The Extended Forecast
No matter what happens with snow on Sunday, we settle into some very cold weather for early next week. I hope you have some warm plans for Valentine's Day, because the weather will be downright frigid.
Monday morning low temperatures will probably be in the teens. (Maybe even single digits if we have fresh snow cover.) Highs will only reach the mid 20s or so. Another day in the deep freezer.
Tuesday will be a little better, but still unseasonably cold. Highs should push into the lower 30s.
And then a flip to southwesterly winds will allow a warmer air mass to intrude midweek. Early estimates for Wednesday put the high temperature back in the seasonable lower-mid 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.