For the first time since mid-December, New Jersey has a mild, dry weekend in the forecast.

A colorful post-snow sunset in Succasunna on Wednesday. (Bob Williams)
A colorful post-snow sunset in Succasunna on Wednesday. (Bob Williams)

This forecast starts cold and ends pleasantly mild — I'm really liking the way the weekend is shaping up!

Following Wednesday's snow, another cold, dry air mass pushed into the Garden State. That caused temperatures to nosedive overnight. Most of the state is starting Thursday morning in the teens. But where there is significant snow on the ground (6 inches in Sussex and Warren counties), thermometers have even dipped below zero. Bundle up!

We'll do OK Thursday afternoon, with most high temperatures in the mid 30s — above freezing, but slightly below normal for mid-January. The exception will be NW NJ again, as the snowpack limits temps to the upper 20s.

Perfect sunshine will do wonders in melting leftover snow and ice, although a 20+ mph breeze will keep the day on the chilly side.

The recipe of clear skies and dry air will make for a cold Thursday night too. Overnight lows should end up in the upper teens to lower 20s.

The warming trend kicks in starting Friday. Normal high temperatures for this time of year range from 38 to 41 degrees, and that's exactly where we'll end up Friday afternoon. It will be another mostly sunny day, with lighter winds.

It's hard to hide my enthusiasm for Saturday, which truly looks like a fantastic January day. Skies will be mostly to partly sunny, and high temperatures should climb to the upper 40s to lower 50s. No record highs or anything, but we'll definitely take the mild temperatures after this bitterly cold winter. (And, ahem, for those of us who have yet to take down the Christmas lights, Saturday will be a great opportunity...)

Sunday will be pretty mild as well, although clouds will knock back temperatures a few degrees. My latest forecast puts highs in the upper 40s to around 50 degrees. Still above normal, still dry, and still pleasant.

Monday stays mild, with some of the warmest temperatures of the week in the lower to (maybe) mid 50s. Skies will be cloudy and I can't rule out a stray shower sometime during the day.

Our next storm system arrives late Monday night into Tuesday morning. With such warm temperatures, this is going to be mostly a rain maker. Models suggest anywhere from a half-inch to an inch of rain is possible, which would be healthy rainfall (that we very much need right now).

Behind the rain will come a cold front. As temperatures start to drop Tuesday, a quick switch from rain to snow is possible — but my current read of the forecast shows no travel issues or accumulations.

By Wednesday, it will be cold again. How cold is still a bit up in the air. My current thinking is 30s during the day and teens at night.

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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