Rain Tuesday, mild Wednesday, cold Thursday, snow Friday
The first week of 2017 will be active, with more damp weather expected Tuesday as most New Jerseyans return to work and school.
Here are your weather headlines for Tuesday, January 3, 2017...
The word for Tuesday morning is damp. Although there is nothing falling from the sky anywhere in New Jersey (as of this writing), there is a lot of moisture trapped near the ground from Monday's rain. Fog, mist, and drizzle may reduce visibility and make the morning feel "yucky" overall. With temperatures hovering near the freezing mark in Sussex County, a bit of freezing fog may cause scattered icy spots early Tuesday.
Another storm system will swoop up from the southwest by late morning, and persistent rain will take over the sky through Tuesday afternoon. While I wouldn't characterize the rain as "heavy," it is certainly going to be persistent for several hours. An umbrella and/or raincoat would be a very good idea.
High temperatures for Tuesday will range from the lower 40s in North Jersey, to the upper 40s in Central Jersey, to the lower 50s in South Jersey. That's well above freezing, and that's why there is no wintry weather included in this forecast.
The rain will eventually come to an end Tuesday night, tapering off from southwest to northeast between about 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. Behind the rain, patchy dense fog will likely develop by Wednesday morning.
Temporarily Turning Nice
Wednesday will feature clearing skies, with sunshine hopefully winning the sky by midday. I think it's going to turn into a nice day, especially as thermometers climb into the lower to mid 50s. A stiff westerly breeze will blow, up to about 20 mph.
However... Don't get used to the warmth...
Turning Cold Again
Our next blast of cold air will begin to seep into the Garden State around sunset on Wednesday. That gusty west-northwest wind (that we know so well) will pick up, pushing temperatures into the 20s and even teens by Thursday morning. (Wind chills may be an issue.) And Thursday's high temperatures will be limited to about 31 to 38 degrees at best, as our new cold air mass takes hold. Brrr.
This newfound deep pool of cold air will set the scene for a taste of wintry weather...
Late Week Snow Chances
For about a week now, forecast models have shown "something wintry" for the first full weekend of 2017. We're starting to get a handle on the impacts of this two-pronged weather setup. It's definitely going to be cold enough to sustain "all snow". And the forecast is definitely leaning toward "minor" rather than "major" snowfall. However, there's still time for this forecast to wiggle greatly - and even a few inches of snow could make driving dicey through the upcoming weekend.
The first storm system to watch will be a wave pushing through the mid-Atlantic and off the coast of North Carolina early Friday. Our current forecast puts upwards of 2 or 3 inches of snow brushing South Jersey and the Jersey Shore. The European model is especially bullish with the snowfall here, putting an inch of accumulation as far north as I-78.
The second prong of this stormy weekend setup will come late Saturday. Confidence is lower for this system's forecast: at the moment, it looks stronger, but also a bit further south (farther away from NJ). While somewhere along the Virginias and the Carolinas could see over a foot of snow, the impacts again look minor for New Jersey. We might pick up another 1 to 3 inches of snow, again centered on southern and coastal New Jersey.
We'll add more details to this snow forecast as confidence grows. Meanwhile, unseasonably cold air will remain through the weekend. Parts of New Jersey may be stuck below freezing for over 100 hours (4+ days), from Thursday to Tuesday.