Heads up, NJ: April begins with a burst of windy, stormy weather
The Bottom Line
We are carefully watching and tracking our next storm system, set to impact New Jersey as the calendar turns from March to April. The big headlines here: Wind and thunderstorms, along with 70+ degree temperatures.
After a chilly, blustery Thursday, Friday will warm back up to seasonable levels. Although a few hit-or-miss showers may arrive Friday, the day looks mainly dry.
Saturday will be the warm, windy, and potentially stormy day. We will likely see a round of rain in the morning, and another in the evening.
And then things settle down again for Sunday into Monday. In fact, we do have some gorgeous Spring weather on the way.
We lose the sunshine and have to talk about some raindrops. But at least temperatures will warm up, turning much more springlike.
As I type, skies are already clouding up across New Jersey. Humidity levels will also be on the rise Friday, as dew points increase from teens to 40s. You won't be able to "feel" the humidity in the air, necessarily. But that is an important ingredient in the building cloud cover and our eventual thunderstorm chance.
A severe weather outbreak will affect the mighty MIssissippi River valley on Thursday, with states such as Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, and Tennessee on high alert for tornadoes. That is our storm system, although impacts will be much tamer here in New Jersey.
We could see a few hit or miss rain showers fire up starting around 1 or 2 p.m. Friday afternoon, lingering through the evening hours. Best chance for raindrops would be a swath from northern to coastal New Jersey.
Having said that, I suspect most of the state will stay dry from this first round of spotty showers.
Friday night, amid clouds and maybe a shower, temperatures will not budge much. In fact, thermometers may even rise a bit through early Saturday morning. My forecast puts lows in the 50s.
It will be an active, inclement weather day. Although not a total washout. You will want to keep an eye on the sky, as thunderstorms could get pretty noisy.
Two additional rounds of wet weather are expected Saturday — both will be more widespread than late Friday's spotty showers.
The first will be a round of scattered rain Saturday morning, between about 4 a.m. and Noon. There could be some downpours and rumbles of thunder involved.
The second will be a batch of strong thunderstorms Saturday evening, between about 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Here's where strong to severe storm concerns arise, with gusty winds, frequent lightning, and heavy rain on the table.
Between those two rounds of rain? Breaks of sunshine. And high temperatures approaching 70 degrees. There's still a chance Saturday will be the warmest day of the year so far.
In addition, a strong ambient wind will be with us both before and after a cold frontal passage Saturday evening. Initially gusting out of the southwest, up to 40 mph. Then flipping to the northwest, also up to 40 mph. That's the lower edge of serious wind — so another reason to declare Saturday a "weather aware" day.
Everything settles down nicely for the second day of April.
The sun will come out by mid-morning. We will keep a stiff northwesterly breeze for the first half of the day. And temperatures will turn cooler again. Below-normal, in fact. Highs will only reach the lower 50s at best Sunday afternoon.
The fates are swirling and the stars are aligning to give New Jersey a gorgeous Spring day on Monday.
Sunshine. Light winds. Dry weather. Highs in the lower to mid 60s. A taste of early May, perhaps. Enjoy it!
Tuesday & Beyond
Latest model guidance continues the warming trend through the middle of next week, with 70s possible once again. However, NJ's weather also turns more unsettled. A few showers and thunderstorms may develop on Tuesday and (even more likely) on Wednesday next week. They won't be an all-day thing — just a symptom of increased heat and moisture in the atmosphere.
I still don't think we'll sustain those above-normal 60s and 70s for long. Long-range models still trend colder through the middle of April.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.