Following record cold on Friday, this weekend will feature a brief warmup but also a messy mix of snow and rain for both Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday.

Here are your weather headlines for Friday, February 20, 2015...

Record-Breaking Cold

The view from Seaside Park yesterday of a cold, icy Barnegat Bay and bright, blue sky. (Matthew White photo)

You already know the top weather story for today is the arctic air mass and the frigid temperatures that are gripping the Garden State. Here are today’s record low temperatures at New Jersey’s three official climate reporting sites:

Newark: 5° (1936) - already broken (today’s low 2°)
Trenton: 6° (1936) - already broken (today’s low 2°)
Atlantic City: 0° (1964) - today’s low 2°

As usual, the thermometer doesn’t tell the entire story, as 20+ mph wind gusts have pushed many wind chill temperatures below -10° this morning. I usually describe wind chill as the “feels like” or “apparent” temperature. It is actually an indicator of energy/heat loss to the human body (and other animals too). So when I say it’s painfully cold, I mean it! And when I say it’s dangerously cold, I mean that too. You know the drill... dress warmly, in layers, to stave off hypothermia and frostbite.

It will be cold again tonight, with lows around 10° (plenty of single digits out there overnight). But with lighter winds, it won’t feel as painfully cold, and we’ll keep wind chills above the danger zone.

Wintry, Wet, Warm Weekend

An impending storm system and atmospheric setup will have a variety of weather impacts on New Jersey this weekend. First and most importantly, we will be able to take advantage of warmer temperatures for both Saturday (highs in the 30s) and especially Sunday (highs in the 40s). But messy weather ranging from wintry to wet will make it hard to enjoy those mild temperatures.

The morning and early afternoon hours of Saturday should pan out OK. Following a cold start, as I mentioned above, we’ll see mostly cloudy skies, a light breeze, and temperatures climbing into the 30s. By late afternoon, however, our next storm system looks to bring in some snow showers. As Saturday evening arrives, snow and wintry mix could accumulate a bit through midnight. (Models have said as much as 3-4” in North Jersey). But temperatures will actually rise slowly overnight, and by about 3 a.m. most or all of the wintry weather should be transitioning to rain. That rain should wash away whatever snow accumulated, although slush and ice could be a problem for overnight and early morning drivers.

Sunday looks messy, with rain in the morning and afternoon. There could be a few pockets of moderate to heavy rain embedded in there, but models are not showing huge rain totals... About 0.75” in Newark, 1.00” in Trenton, and 1.50” in Atlantic City. Again, with highs in the mid 40s throughout the state, it will be all rain for Sunday.

Minor flooding could be an issue as the rain falls on Sunday, due to ice blocking rivers, drainage canals, storm drains, and gutters.

Back to Cold

Following Sunday’s rain, our pattern of frigid weather resumes late Sunday into Monday, as another arctic front brings back the cold air to New Jersey. Monday and Tuesday highs will both be held to the 20s. That’s 15°-20° below normal for this time of year. And yet again, there is no significant, prolonged warm-up in sight through next week. Blah.

Think warm thoughts and have a great weekend!