Temperatures will remain about 20 degrees below normal for the next two days, as the Garden State experiences its first hard freeze of the season.

Friday's arctic cold front is running a bit behind schedule. And that's not a good thing.

Meteorologist Dan Zarrow is ready for the arctic blast. (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media)
Meteorologist Dan Zarrow is ready for the arctic blast. (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media)

You're going to walk out the front door Friday morning to temperatures in the 40s and a light wind. And you're going to think, "Ha, the stupid weatherman was wrong! This isn't so bad!"

And then you're going to go outside Friday afternoon. As your teeth chatter and your skin burns from the icy wind, you'll mutter "OK fine, it's cold!"

I estimate the cold front — the leading edge of our new, cold air mass — will finish passing through the Garden State by about 10 a.m. Friday. A fierce northwest wind will not only deliver that colder air, it will also add a wintry bite to the day. (Note: This is a dry frontal passage, so no rain or snow is anticipated.)

Thermometers will fall from the 40s Friday morning to the lower to mid 30s through Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, wind speeds will increase, sustained at 15 to 25 mph with frequent gusts to 35+ mph. I've done the math, and I don't like it. The "wind chill" (or "feels like" or "apparent") temperature will fall into the 20s for most of the day.

As I've been advertising all week, this arctic blast will rival the dead of winter.

And the numbers just keep falling Friday night, easily the coldest night of the season so far. (And possibly one of the coldest of the entire season to come!)

A widespread hard freeze is likely across New Jersey, as low temperatures sink to the lower to mid 20s. Even though the wind won't be as fierce as daytime Friday, a light breeze of 10 to 15 mph will still add a significant bite to the cold. As you wake up Saturday morning, the wind chill will probably be in the teens.

Saturday stays cold, although abundant sunshine and calmer winds will make the day more bearable. We'll still be 15 to 20 degrees below normal for mid-November, with high temperatures struggling to reach 40 degrees.

On the backside of this cold high pressure, winds will shift to a southerly direction on Sunday. That will push temperatures back into the upper 40s to around 50 degrees to end the weekend. Yes, still below normal. But not a taste of the arctic, at least.

Our medium-range forecast keeps temperatures subtly below normal for next week, in the lower 50s. There are no major storm systems on the horizon, just a chance of showers Sunday night to Monday morning, and again early Thursday morning.

Bundle up, stay warm, and have a great weekend!

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.

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