NJ weather: Two days of quiet weather, then a rain-snow-wind mess
UPDATE... This article is outdated...
For the latest winter storm forecast information, please refer to my newest weather blog post.
The Bottom Line
Two nice days. One miserable day. One cold day. And then a return to pleasant weather.
Obviously, we're going to focus on our next period of inclement weather here. A strong cold front will arrive on Saturday, leading to a triple threat of nasty weather: Rain, snow, wind.
The state can be broken into three "zones" Thursday morning, based on current conditions.
1.) In North Jersey, with fresh snow cover on the ground, it's quite cold this morning in the 20s. Skies are clear, winds are calm, visibility is good.
2.) Along the coast (east of the Garden State Parkway), temperatures are above freezing. A chill in the air, with some lingering clouds.
3.) For the rest - the majority of the state - thermometers have fallen just below freezing. That has led to numerous icy spots. Watch your step, and be prepared to scrape or warmup your car. Patchy fog is also reducing visibility in most spots.
Once temperatures rise just a few degrees, any early morning challenges will vanish. And the rest of the day looks pretty good.
Skies will range from partly sunny (north and west) to mostly cloudy (south and east). High temperatures are expected to climb to about 45 to 50 degrees. That's about par for the course for early to mid March. Other than a possible afternoon sprinkle, our weather will stay calm and dry throughout your Thursday.
Thursday night also looks quiet. Fog may develop again by Friday morning. Low temperatures will dip to about the freezing mark, in the chilly lower 30s.
Friday: Even Nicer
Sun and clouds. Highs 50 to 55. A pleasant, uneventful March day. Enjoy it!
Saturday's weather is not going to be very friendly. In fact, I don't think there will be a substantial break for outdoor activities. The decision to postpone the Seaside St. Patrick's Day Parade was unfortunate, but a good call.
Saturday will start with soaking rain, arriving before sunrise and lasting through at least midday. Total rainfall will probably average an inch - healthy, and heavy at times. There could even be a gusty thunderstorm embedded in there.
Then, temperatures will tumble on a cold northwesterly wind. As thermometers drop close to the freezing mark, a transition from rain to mix to snow is likely.
But here's the thing: Cold air is dry air. So it's really hard to get an extended period of snow behind a cold front. Therefore, accumulations should be very limited.
Having said that, there is a good shot at a coating of snow on the ground, caused by an initial burst heavy stuff, in the afternoon or early evening hours. (Some models do paint heavier totals in NW NJ. I don't buy such a solution, but it's worth keeping in mind.)
Weather will clear Saturday evening. But we'll be left with windy conditions and tumbling temperatures. Top wind gusts may reach 40+ mph.
Get ready to shiver. By Sunday morning, temperatures will be in the teens. The wind chill may be stuck in the single digits. "Dead of winter" kind of cold.
We'll only reach the mid 30s Sunday afternoon, despite sunshine. The wind should slowly subside as the day presses on.
The Extended Forecast
Quiet, reasonably pleasant weather resumes for the final full week of winter. I'm seeing 50s and even 60s for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. (Just how warm it gets will depend on the amount of sunshine and the wind direction.)
Our next opportunity for a storm system would be late next week, in the Thursday-Friday time frame. Remember, still winter and still snow season. We'll figure out the details once it gets closer.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.