After high temperatures approached 50 degrees for part of New Jersey on Wednesday, thermometers will be dropping sharply today and tonight.

Here are your weather headlines for Thursday, February 5, 2015...

Back to the Arctic

You had to know that yesterday’s mild temperatures were not going to last. (Hey, even that weather rodent Punxsutawney Phil predicted winter will continue for another month and a half.) A cold front will push through New Jersey today that will deliver arctic air and resume the deep freeze.

The first effect of that front will be rain and snow showers this morning. Exactly what falls on your head will depend on temperatures. None of the precipitation has been particularly heavy on the radar or on the models this morning. Through Noon today, this line of precipitation could slicken up the roads, reduce visibility a bit, and perhaps accumulate an inch or two (especially in colder North Jersey).

The second, and potentially more significant, effect of this arctic front will obviously be the big cool down. We’ve already hit our high temperature for Thursday. As the cold air mass takes over this afternoon, the wind will increase dramatically (with gusts over 30 mph) and temperatures will fall sharply (through the 20s this afternoon). That will lead to a very cold night, with widespread low temperatures in the single digits. Factor in the brisk wind that continues for the overnight, and we’ll be waking up to wind chills below zero Friday morning. Friday afternoon will still be cold and blustery, as highs struggle to even make it to the mid 20s.

Current New Jersey temperatures

Quiet Saturday

Since Thursday and Friday will be bitterly cold, and since we’re expecting more wintry weather for Sunday and beyond (see below), I just wanted to highlight that Saturday is going to be a decent weather day. Increasing clouds, quiet and dry weather, lighter winds, and seasonable temperatures on either side of 40 degrees. That’s about as good as it’s going to get for early February, so enjoy!

Wintry Sunday-Monday

As I discussed in my Tuesday and Wednesday blog entries, there is a stormy setup coming to New Jersey for the second half of the weekend. As a front stalls on top of New Jersey, and as several atmospheric impulses ride along that front, we’ll see a persistent chance of light to moderate precipitation for both Sunday and Monday (and maybe even early Tuesday). What form that precipitation takes (snow vs. sleet vs. freezing rain vs. rain) is still up in the air, as the exact storm track will dictate temperatures and therefore precipitation type. (A familiar story so far this winter...)

Snow and ice accumulations? Yes. But we’re still not ready to put numbers on it. I will go so far as to say that it could certainly be enough to cause travel problems, and maybe enough to delay or close schools (especially in North Jersey). But for a more definitive forecast with numbers, you'll have to wait until tomorrow or Saturday.