The Bottom Line
The warm streak is over. Bye bye 80 degrees — it's finally going to feel like October again. Friday will be about 10 degrees cooler than Thursday. And Saturday turns even cooler and cloudier, with some showers in the works too. Having said that, each of the next four days look mainly dry and generally pleasant.
The long-range forecast for next week is kind of a mess. A series of storm systems could deliver one or two batches of steady, heavy rain to New Jersey. For now, the days to watch for "yucky" weather are Tuesday and Thursday.
As of this writing (5:30 a.m.), a cold front is draped right over the middle of New Jersey. Remember a cold front is simply the leading edge of a cooler, drier air mass. That density difference causes lift in the atmosphere, enough to cause raindrops. And we do start the day with a smattering of showers in southern New Jersey only.
I expect temperatures to dip a few degrees cooler through Friday mid-morning, before rising slowly into the upper 60s to around 70 degrees by the afternoon. Cooler than Thursday, but still above normal for late October.
We'll enjoy a pleasant mix of sun and clouds, and I can't rule out a stray shower or sprinkle later on.
Typically, the first night after a cold front is the coldest. But tonight, New Jersey gets "tucked in" by a blanket of arriving clouds. That will prevent temperatures from nosediving too far. Look for a low on either side of 50 degrees by Saturday morning.
Unsettled. As a storm system passes north of New Jersey, you will see lots of clouds and you may see a few showers. Best chance of raindrops will be 1.) during the first half of the day, and 2.) in the northern half of the state.
High temperatures on Saturday will only reach the lower 60s at best.
Easily the nicer, brighter, drier, warmer day of the weekend.
There will be a chill in the air early Sunday morning, with lows in the 40s. (Maybe some 30s and frost to the north and west.) As skies become partly sunny, highs will pop into the seasonable mid 60s. Nice afternoon for outdoor fall activities.
The next storm system in line looks to clip North Jersey with rain after sunset Sunday evening. That wet weather should only last a few hours, into late Sunday night. If that storm track happens to drift south, the rain could turn a bit more widespread, prolonged, and heavier — just something to watch as the forecast continues to evolve this weekend.
The Extended Forecast
In the past 24 hours, long-range forecast models have swung wildly for next week, from miserably-cool to not-so-cool. That alone makes me think that we do not have a good handle on how things are going to play out just yet. But let me tell you what I am seeing at this moment.
Monday actually looks pretty warm and humid now, with most high temperatures popping into the 70s.
Another area of low pressure will track north of New Jersey late Monday into early Tuesday. The associated strong cold front will likely produce a period of rain (possibly thunderstorms) in that timeframe, followed by our next temperature tumble. As we dry out Tuesday, temperatures will fall through the 50s.
Wednesday's forecast is fine — partly sunny and 60s.
But another storm system, currently parked off the Pacific coast, will be in our neighborhood on or around Thursday. Guidance suggests some steady, heavy rain
As much as I've enjoyed our stretches of dry, mild weather this month, we do need the rain — both Newark and Atlantic City have only seen about an inch of total rainfall since October 1. I have high hopes that our weather will settle down and dry out for Halloween next Sunday.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.