The Bottom Line
Temperatures on Thursday afternoon reached as high as 74 degrees — wonderfully warm, and just barely shy of breaking records.
Unfortunately, Friday afternoon's temperatures will be limited to the 40s. Indeed, a full 25 degrees colder than just 24 hours prior.
So this is a story of chilly, wintry, below-normal temperatures. Of course, Thanksgiving Day is less than a week away. And there's one storm system in the forecast between now and then. But ignore the hype out there — it looks like more of a dud than a big deal for New Jersey.
Once rain ended early Friday morning, colder air began to invade New Jersey's atmosphere once again. As of this writing (5:30 a.m.), temperatures have dipped into the chilly 30s to the west of the NJ Turnpike. To the south and east, we've fallen into the 40s. Not necessarily "frigid" (especially by mid-November standards). But we're clearly back in jacket weather here.
The big problem is that temperatures won't budge much through Friday afternoon. We'll see mid 40s at best. (For some, that will be the "high temperature" for the day. For others, it technically won't be, as thermometers were holding higher prior to the cooldown in the early morning hours.) That is about 7 degrees below seasonal normals.
Skies will be mostly sunny. And wind speeds will be breezy, if not blustery. Blowing out of the northwest up to 20+ mph, especially early on.
The only chance of precipitation would be a lingering lake-effect snow shower reaching far North Jersey.
We descend back into frost/freeze territory Friday night for pretty much the entire state. Overnight low temps will average lower 30s, with some 20s in the chilly spots. Clear skies, calmer winds, quiet weather.
We head into the weekend with another quiet, chilly day. Skies will progress from early sunshine to late clouds. High temperatures will get stuck in the mid to upper 40s.
The chill retreats a bit for the second half of the weekend. A frosty morning will give way to mid 50s by Sunday afternoon. Skies will be mostly cloudy, but our weather will stay quiet and dry for most of the day.
However, our next storm system will start its approach from the west late-day Sunday. We could see rain showers creep in as early as Sunday afternoon. And then a period of steady rain is expected starting Sunday night.
The "hype-o-meter" has been off the chart with next week's storm system. And some of the concern was absolutely warranted — any threat of a big storm during a busy travel season is potentially disastrous. However, it's been days and days since models hinted at any sort of big, bad, significant, multi-impact storm.
Having said that, some guidance is painting a half-inch to an inch of total rainfall from Sunday night through Monday midday. There could be some pockets of heavy stuff, leading to big puddles and slipperiness on the roads. But that's about it — for now, we're not ringing any alarm bells for severe or wintry weather.
Behind that storm system Monday afternoon, the sun comes out. Aaaaaand temperatures start to tumble again. While the day will start in the 50s, we'll see only 40s in the afternoon. And overnight lows will easily dip into the 20s and 30s — a freeze for most, I think.
The Extended Forecast
As the lead-up to Turkey Day continues, I see cool temperatures, breezy/blustery conditions, and generally quiet weather. A few snow showers or even squalls may blow in — something to watch through midweek. Thanksgiving proper looks fairly pleasant and seasonable, with sun and clouds and lower-mid 50s.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.