Nice weekend warmup for New Jersey, possible storm next week
A warm front and a brisk southwesterly wind will help temperatures soar by Saturday, but a chance for rain and snow looms for next week in the Garden State.
Last weekend? Dangerous cold. This weekend? A welcome temporary warmup for New Jersey!
After a chilly, breezy Thursday and a week featuring a roller coaster of temperatures, we'll recover to about the 40 degree mark for Friday. That's close to normal for this time of year. The morning will start quite cold and mostly clear, with clouds increasing throughout the day. A light shower (rain or snow) will be possible for Friday afternoon, but should not amount to much (if it materializes at all).
Another chance for a shower (again, rain or snow) will come starting Friday evening, as a storm system just barely clips New Jersey from the north. This has been a fairly uncertain forecast through this week, as one model (the NAM) has suggested more of a widespread rain solution for the state. The NAM has backed off this morning, so I think the end result will just be a few showers, or even nothing at all. Once again, not a big deal.
As warmer air starts to leak into New Jersey tonight, particularly in the upper levels of the atmosphere, temperatures won't drop much for Friday night. Lows will probably hover in the upper 30s.
Saturday is looking partly sunny, a bit windy, and downright warm! Our forecast has increased even since yesterday, now showing highs between the upper 50s and lower 60s across New Jersey. Yes, 60s! That will be almost 20 degrees above normal for mid-to-late February. I think daily record highs, however, will be safe (closer to 70 degrees right now).
So for the Seaside Heights Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday, the air will be mild. But the water will be cold! Ocean temperatures along the Jersey Shore currently range from 34 to 39 degrees.
A weak cold front will push temperatures slightly lower for Sunday, but I think we'll still make it into the 50s across the state. The front will have limited moisture and energy, so I don't expect any other weather impacts for Sunday besides slightly increased cloud cover.
Models are now showing a compact low pressure system could ride through New Jersey early Monday morning. Based on forecast temperatures, this would probably be mostly rain, although some snow and ice are possible (especially the further north you go). Precipitation totals look to stay below a half-inch from this system, and should be done falling by mid-morning.
Skies on Monday will stay mostly cloudy. Temperatures will be seasonable, in the mid 40s or so.
And then our attention turns to the Tuesday to Wednesday time frame, with a sizable storm system expected to impact the mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. At this time, confidence is growing that this storm will affect New Jersey with some combination of heavy rain and/or accumulating snow.
However, we are dealing with some incredibly poor model consensus and high uncertainty regarding the exact track and timing of this storm. Those two elements will have HUGE implications on whether New Jersey sees snow or rain, or a combination of the two. There is a chance the rain-snow line ends up right on top of New Jersey which, of course, would lend to a very complicated and imprecise forecast even as the storm gets closer.
The warmest scenario would put the center of this storm system over or west of New Jersey, and would keep all precipitation as potentially heavy rain. That's the way the GFS model reads right now, with the center of the low staying well west of New Jersey as of the 06Z run. The coldest scenario would track just off-shore, putting New Jersey under subfreezing temperatures and potentially drop over a half-foot of snow here. That's closer to this morning's Euro forecast. In between the two are countless rain-snow possibilities that could ultimately play out if that transition line ends up right over New Jersey.
So again, for now, it is inaccurate and irresponsible to say anything other than this storm is worth watching. By about Sunday morning, hopefully we'll start to have better model agreement and an overall better idea of which direction this system is going to go. Until then, stay calm and watch the forecast.
In the meantime, enjoy this weekend's warm temperatures!