Seesaw forecast for New Jersey through this weekend
The Garden State will experience a warmup, a cooldown, and two storm systems through early next week.
Here are your weather headlines for Thursday, January 14, 2016...
The past two days have been brutally cold, with the wind chill making the arctic air downright painful. I'm happy to say we are in the midst of a recovery with progressively warmer temperatures for today, tonight, and tomorrow.
Following a wave of morning snow showers in North Jersey, skies should become sunnier by Thursday afternoon. A stiff breeze (about 10 to 20 mph) will add a little bite to the cold air. High temperatures will end up in the upper 30s in North Jersey and the lower 40s in South Jersey... close to normal for mid-January.
Tonight, thanks to slightly increased humidity and cloud cover, lows will only fall to the lower 30s for most of New Jersey. There could be a few 20s in the coldest spots.
Friday's high temperatures should peak in the upper 40s to lower 50s - not bad! Skies will become mostly cloudy, and by the late afternoon rush hour we'll be watching the skies for the arrival of our next storm system...
The Beginning of the Weekend: Coastal System
All week long, we have been carefully tracking an ominous-looking coastal storm system that still looks to affect New Jersey in the Friday evening to Saturday morning timeframe. But, yet again, it looks like we will miss out on the worst of this storm. Sorry, snow-lovers.
The current track of this coastal low keeps the strongest part of the system off-shore. That will keep any precipitation in the Garden State limited to light to maybe moderate in intensity. The timing of the unsettled weather will be from about 6 p.m. Friday through at least late morning on Saturday.
The major issue with this complicated forecast has been the temperature. (Not unusual for winter storms, of course.) Highs on Friday will be in the almost balmy upper 40s to lower 50s. Confidence is growing that thermometers should stay well above freezing for the majority of the state throughout the entire storm. So, this forecast carries a familiar tune... mostly rain.
Having said that, I do still think there's a narrow window for some wintry mix in the northwest corner of New Jersey (north of I-78, west of the Turnpike). As temperatures at the surface fall to the mid to upper 30s, the upper levels of the atmosphere will probably stay cold enough to sustain of period of slushy wet snow. No significant accumulation is expected at this time.
However, this forecast is still pretty volatile, especially around that "snow zone"... If temperatures fall just a couple degrees, that accumulation forecast may need to be increased or pushed a bit further south.
The End of the Weekend: Near-Miss and Cooldown
Another complex weather situation will besiege New Jersey in the Sunday-Monday time frame. Models presently show a near-miss from another coastal-ish storm system Sunday night, that should pass just south of New Jersey. We'll watch for a wiggle in this forecast track, but confidence is growing this system will not be a big deal for New Jersey.
Meanwhile, another arctic cold front follows, with just a chance for light snow showers. By Monday, high temperatures will struggle to climb above freezing... again. Winds will be blustery... again. Wind chills will be biting... again. And the entire first half of next week will probably stay pretty cold.
There are no big snow storms on the horizon at this time.