The Bottom Line
Wednesday certainly felt like a "wintry" day, with grey skies, January-ish temperatures, and limited snowflakes. The top snowfall reported in the state: a half-inch in Sussex County.
We move into Thursday with quiet weather and dry air, but also a reinforcing shot of cold air. That will keep temperatures unseasonably cold for one more day.
We have a little warmup ahead, peaking with a "dramatic" weather day on Saturday. From record warmth to wind and rain. Temperatures will tumble again for the second half of the weekend.
I found a thin layer of ice encasing my car early Thursday morning, a result of Wednesday's light precipitation and overnight freezing temperatures. You may find the same, with temperatures averaging upper 20s to start the day. Grab a coat, warm up the car, and watch for black ice. Bridges and overpasses would be the first to freeze, as they are surrounded by cold air.
Most of the morning should be bright and sunny, before clouds roll in by midday through the afternoon. The northwesterly breeze will lighten as the day goes on. The daytime hours look completely dry (both air and weather).
High temperatures will only reach about 40 degrees, give or take. That is running about 5 to 10 degrees below normal for early December.
A weak disturbance will clip New Jersey from the north late Thursday north. So I will include the chance of a light snow or rain shower in the forecast, especially for North Jersey. For most of the state, it will be no more than a flurry or sprinkle. For all, accumulations and travel issues are unlikely.
it will be frosty overnight, with lows right around the freezing mark in the lower 30s.
Getting a bit warmer, thanks to a switch to southerly winds. I'll be optimistic and put the high temperature near 50 degrees. Not bad!
We'll see a mix of clouds and sun across Friday. Again, the daytime hours look dry. Spotty rain showers will be possible Friday night, as a warm front lifts through the state. (Temperatures are also expected to rise late Friday night into Saturday morning too.)
Record warmth, but unsettled. It's going to be another "weird" weather day, featuring another dramatic and abrupt transition.
High temperatures will shoot into the mid to upper 60s by Saturday afternoon. 70 looks like a possibility for inland South Jersey. (My latest forecast shows the record high being tied at Newark and Trenton and broken at Atlantic City.)
Some model guidance — specifically the Euro — does keep some persistent showers over North Jersey throughout the day Saturday. At the very least, it will be mostly cloudy to overcast. Kind of murky. So not a perfect, warm day.
And then we'll have to watch for the cold front. Sometime after about 4 p.m., a band of rain will arrive from the west. Nothing heavy or prolonged, just wet. Maybe some rumbles of thunder.
In addition, the day will become increasingly gusty. Those wind will first blow from the south pre-front, flipping to northwesterly post-front. The latest data suggests 40+ mph gusts are possible — hence the "yellow" alert icon on our 5 day forecast.
Temperatures will tank Saturday night, leading to a probably frost or freeze by Sunday morning.
Cooler. But it's hard to call it truly "cold," as temperatures just get knocked back to normal Sunday. Look for highs in the mid-upper 40s. It will be breezy, and therefore blustery. But skies will be bright blue and spectacularly sunny.
The Extended Forecast
Next week looks great, approaching the midpoint of December. A big dome of high pressure will settle over the mid-Atlantic, leading to a stretch of clear skies, dry weather, and pleasant temperatures. We should stay at-or-above normal through Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (at least).
Next opportunity for a substantial storm system wouldn't come along until late next week.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.