Wednesday NJ weather: Snow and rain showers, cloudy and cold
The Bottom Line
We've reached our little taste of winter of the week — key word: little. The ingredients for Wednesday's storm system complex just aren't coming together to produce widespread snow and/or accumulations. So we face a low risk of travel issues overall, although a dusting to coating of snow accumulation is possible. It's going to "feel" like a wintry day, with cloudy skies and unseasonably cold temperatures.
After one more day on the cold side Thursday, temperatures will moderate for Friday and especially Saturday. The weekend will feature another abrupt transition, another round of "weather whiplash" if you will. From warm to wet to windy to cold.
Baseline, bottom line, no matter what falls from the sky Wednesday, skies will stay mostly cloudy to overcast and temperatures will be uncomfortably cold. 20s and 30s in the morning. Then high temperatures only around 40 degrees, give or take. You may want to reach for the heavier coat, as it feels kind of January-ish. Luckily, winds will be light, so no fear of the wind chill "biting" you.
Occasional waves of precipitation will pass through New Jersey during the daytime hours Wednesday. The peak, with the most widespread shower activity, will probably be around midday through early afternoon. Snow vs. rain will depend on the exact temperature at the time.
I have decided not to stress too much about geography specifics here — who will see what kind of shower and when and how much. I maintain there is a reasonable chance for a dusting or coating of accumulation in spots Wednesday — although certainly not everywhere. As I've said previously, the best chance of the ground whitening up will be North Jersey (where temperatures will be colder and snow showers more persistent) and inland South Jersey (with the best chance of a heavier band of snow/mix drifting overhead).
Sometime Wednesday evening, skies will start to clear. It will get a bit breezy for a few hours overnight, with a reinforcing shot of cold air. Low temperatures will dip into the chilly upper 20s or so by Thursday morning.
Still unseasonably cold, but pretty quiet. Morning sun. Afternoon clouds. Highs only in the lower 40s.
Some models do plug in a shower Thursday evening, but I've opted to ignore it for now.
A weak wave sliding by in the pre-dawn Friday morning hours could produce a few snow, wintry mix, and/or rain showers. Best chance would be in North Jersey. Minimal accumulation and travel issues yet again.
The rest of Friday looks better. With pleasant partly sunny skies, temperatures should warm to around 50 degrees for all but far northern NJ.
The Weekend & Beyond
Another bout of "weather whiplash" is in the forecast for the weekend, with a big transition from warm to wet to windy to cooler.
Saturday looks ridiculously warm, with high temperatures in the 65 to 70 degree range. That's 20+ degrees above normal, and near-record. A morning spotty shower is possible, along with mostly cloudy skies.
Then, starting late Saturday afternoon, we'll have to watch the western sky for an approaching cold front. That will drive in a round of rain and some gusty wind. Watch that wind, which may gust to 50+ mph.
Temperatures will tumble Saturday night, back below freezing by Sunday morning. And Sunday's high temps will only hit about 45 to 50 degrees. Certainly not arctic — just cooler and more seasonable (typical for mid-December). The second half of the weekend with be sunny, but blustery.
The long-range forecast looks dead silent, as strong high pressure takes control of our atmosphere next week. Temperatures should be at or above normal for the first half of next week, with minimal (if any) precipitation.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.