Near-record, springlike warmth returns to NJ this week
The Bottom Line
Let me start by talking about the temperature trend this month — past, present, and future. It is a "flip-flopping February". We'll go through a stretch of mild weather, in the 50s and even 60s. And that will be followed by a cold snap, with highs only in the 30s (at best). Then the cycle repeats. Every 7 to 10 days, we experience practically every season all over again. It's wild. And those regular warm swings are definitely not "normal" for February.
There is nary a chance of snow in sight, as we are warming up again. Monday and Tuesday will peak in the 50s. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday will push into the 60s.
Our next significant weathermaker arrives Thursday into Friday. It will deliver pockets of heavy rain, rumbles of thunder, and a big cooldown heading into the weekend. But noticeably absent from this forecast: Substantial snow or wintry weather.
Parts of South Jersey got soaked since Sunday, with over an inch of total rainfall. As of this writing (6 a.m.), we're down to sprinkles along the Jersey Shore, as our coastal storm system pulls away.
Final raindrops should fall by about 8 a.m. And then we should see widespread abundant sunshine by Noon. Temperatures will warm from 40 degrees in the morning to the mid 50s in the afternoon. Reminder: Normal highs are 42 to 45 degrees right now. So we are way above that mark for yet another day.
Monday night, a stiff westerly breeze will kick up to 20+ mph. That will keep cool air moving around, and probably will prevent a freeze for most of the state. Expect clear skies and lows averaging mid 30s by Tuesday morning.
A cool breeze will stay with us through at least the first half of Tuesday. That will keep temperatures slightly cooler than on Monday.
Other than that, Tuesday is looking good. Lots of sunshine, with highs near 50.
The latest forecast models paint some light sprinkles invading New Jersey early Wednesday morning. That chance is consistent enough that I'll go along with it for now.
The rest of Wednesday will be fine. In fact, I'd even call Wednesday the "weather winner of the week" given the combination of mainly dry conditions and warm temperatures.
Thermometers will make a run for 60 degrees Wednesday afternoon. Cloud cover will bookend the day, although we should see substantial breaks of sun in the middle.
Thursday will be even warmer than Wednesday, with highs pushing into the lower to mid 60s. That is record high temperature territory here in mid-February.
However, clouds will take over the sky. And it is going to rain — eventually.
Models show some differences in 1.) the arrival time and 2.) spread/intensity of initial raindrops on Thursday. We might squeeze out a dry (and reasonably pleasant) first half of the day. By by Thursday evening at the latest, at least some showers will threaten.
Given the warmth and humidity in the atmosphere, it should not be surprising at all to include downpours and rumbles of thunder in the forecast. Especially Thursday evening.
Friday & Beyond
Again, the timing of an inevitable cold front is hazy at this time. But at some point Friday, rain will end, wind will kick up, and temperatures will tumble. It's reasonable to expect thermometers to dip from the 60s in the early morning to the 30s by early evening. (We will nail down that timeline further as the week goes on.)
One thing we will also have to watch is the potential for a brief shot of snow on the backside of this storm system. Usually such cold front events are inconsequential in terms of snowfall. However, I do not want you to be caught off guard by snowflakes — especially this winter, which has been practically snow-free.
Saturday will be a seasonably chilly day, with highs barely in the 40s. At least skies will be bright and clear.
Our next warmup should kick in Sunday, with highs potentially back in the 50s.
Long-range models show relatively active weather next week. Next storm system to watch would be mid-week.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.