NJ weather: Quiet and dry Thursday, wet with snowflakes Friday
Two weeks to go until Spring! There are quite a few pleasant weather days in New Jersey's forecast. With one notable exception — Friday. We're still watching our next storm system closely, but I'm even more confident that any wintry impacts for New Jersey will be strictly limited.
Thursday reads like a very nice early March day. We're seeing temperatures in the upper 30s to lower 40s Thursday morning — enough of a chill in the air to warrant a jacket as you step out the door. High temperatures Thursday afternoon are forecast to reach about 50 degrees, slightly above normal for this time of year. Morning sunshine will transition to fair-weather clouds in the afternoon. We'll stay dry with light winds.
Clouds will really roll in Thursday night. Low temperatures dip into the cool mid 30s.
I have one adjustment to announce regarding Friday's storm system. You'll recall that this setup involves two pieces — a low pressure system passing south of New Jersey and ejecting into the Atlantic Ocean, and another disturbance moving in from the Great Lakes. According to the latest model data, part #1 has shifted farther south and east. That adds confidence that this system is even less likely to produce a nasty wintry surprise — the phasing is off, and we're not facing anything resembling a nor'easter This shift also spells a later arrival time for precipitation for the Garden State.
So here is how it will plays out... Spotty showers or sprinkles are possible as early as 3 a.m. Friday morning. But I wouldn't be surprised if most of NJ gets through the Friday AM commute dry. Scattered rain showers will arrive by Friday late morning through midday. That will be followed by a period of widespread steadier rain from Friday mid-afternoon through early evening.
High temperatures will reach the mid 40s for most of the state Friday. So again, there is little concern of a wintry day. It's mainly just wet.
However, as thermometers start to drop Friday night, I think we will see at least part of the state transition to some light snow or wintry mix between about 7 p.m. Friday and 1 a.m. Saturday. The best chance for falling flakes will be northern and western New Jersey. More specifically, if it's cold enough I could see a healthy coating on the ground around Passaic, Morris, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset, and northern Mercer counties. And just to be safe, I'm not ruling out snowflakes for any of New Jersey's 21 counties.) But accumulations will be limited, and travel impacts should be nil.
Coastal flooding is still a concern too. Guidance now paints 1 to 2 feet of surge up and down the Jersey Shore. That's enough to cause tidal flooding in the minor category — generally when the usual spots see water inundation issues. The most precarious high tide cycle will occur early Saturday morning.
Skies clear to sunshine Saturday morning, and the weekend looks fantastic. Having said that, Saturday will be breezy and seasonably cool with highs in the mid to upper 40s.
West-southwest winds will cause a warmup to kick in for Sunday, as highs soar into the mid to upper 50s. Nice!
Monday promises to be the warmest day of the week. Widespread 60s will join partly sunny skies. (Special note to my wife: Take the kids to the park on Monday!)
The next storm system down the road will arrive in the Tuesday-Wednesday time frame, leading to a period of rain and a slight cooldown. Models have been consistent in showing another storm system around Wednesday night-Thursday. Given the refreshed cool air, that one could get interesting with a wintry component — but we're still way too far away to make a definitive call there.
But again, there are just 14 days left until the Vernal Equinox. Mother Nature is rapidly running out of time to produce a significant snowstorm here in New Jersey.