NJ weekend forecast: Wet, warmer, windy, and maybe a bit wintry
The grand finale of the workweek won't be a pretty day, but at least temperatures are warming up. On this Friday morning, thermometers are in the 30s across most of New Jersey — beeware of slippery spots north of Interstate 78. Closer to the coast, temps are already in the 40s, thanks to the ocean influence. We'll feel widespread 50s by Friday afternoon — hey, our warmest day in almost two weeks! But I think we'll be plagued by patchy dense fog, cloudy skies, and spotty showers and sprinkles throughout the day too.
Friday Night: Rain Arrives
We've been monitoring this storm system for almost ten days, and it has been a very stable, consistent forecast the whole way. Steady to heavy rain will impact much of the weekend here across the Garden State. Our weather is expected to turn wet as of about 10 p.m. Friday evening.
Saturday: And It Just Keeps Raining
I'm still thinking Saturday is going to be a total washout for most (if not all) of New Jersey. The heaviest rain will occur during the morning and early afternoon hours, with the highest rainfall totals likely in the southern half of the state. We should enter a lull in the rainfall action Saturday evening, but the chance for rain will last into at least part of Sunday too.
Totals and Flooding
By the end of the weekend, I would not be surprised to see most rainfall totals between 1 and 2 inches. A previous run of the NAM model had upwards of 5 inches of rain in South Jersey — yikes, that's a lot! There is certainly a risk of flooding this weekend, both of the flash (street) and river varieties. While there are no watches, warnings or advisories posted over New Jersey as of this writing, I'm sure we'll see some flood watches issued at some point.
It happens during every winter rainstorm. People beg me to answer the burning question... "Hey Dan, how much snow would this be?" It's a tough question to answer, because the warmth and humidity in the air have a direct impact on the strength and character of this storm system. But if you have to know, here's the simple math: If temperatures were about 20 degrees colder, 1 to 2 inches of water would be equivalent to about 10 to 20 inches of snow (on average).
Winds on Saturday will blow from the northeast at 10 to 20 mph, increasing to 20+ mph on Sunday. Given that on-shore flow, some storm surge and tidal inundation is possible. It seems that tide models have settled on about a foot impacting the Jersey Shore, peaking during Sunday's high tide cycles. That's enough to cause widespread minor flooding of tidal waterways. If the wind ends up stronger, or takes more of an easterly direction, that flooding could be somewhat worse in spots.
Sunday: Changes Ahead
Again, Sunday also looks like a wet day. Even if we salvage a piece of dry weather at some point, it's going to remain dreary and damp. Furthermore, cold air will start to intrude on Sunday with a brisker wind. While Friday and Saturday will feature highs in the 50s, Sunday's temperatures will likely fall through the 40s. Still above freezing, for now...
Wintry End to the Weekend?
Forecast models have gone back and forth about whether the timing of 1.) the impending cooldown, and 2.) the exit of this storm system will meet up. We're talking about the Sunday night to Monday time frame here. If temperatures fall below freezing below precipitation ends, there could be a period of light snow. Accumulations are possible, I suppose — on the order of an inch. Best chance would be in (colder) North Jersey. But getting snow to accumulate on a wet and relatively warm ground is going to be a challenge.
Our weather swings back to the cold and blustery side for Monday into Tuesday, before temperatures moderate to more seasonable levels through the rest of next week. Our next big storm system wouldn't come along until about next weekend, at the earliest. We'll talk about that potential — and our chances, if any, for a White Christmas — next week.
Have a great weekend! Stay dry!