Tuesday's warming trend will be welcome, but brief. Just as soon as you can take a breath of seasonable air, a cold front will drive below-normal temps back into the Garden State.

We're waking up to mixed cloud cover and a chill in the air Tuesday morning. As of this writing (6 a.m.), temperatures range from the upper 30s in North Jersey (where skies are mostly clear) to the lower 50s in South Jersey (where skies are mostly cloudy).

With a stiff southwesterly breeze up to 20 mph throughout the day, thermometers should warm to the 60s across the state (lower 60s north, mid 60s for most, upper 60s possible to the south).

I estimate our cold front — the leading edge of an approaching cool air mass — will push through New Jersey between about 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday. Although this frontal passage looks pretty moisture-starved, models do paint a few isolated pockets of rain around the northern third of New Jersey during that time frame. I'm also including some "just-in-case" sprinkles in the forecast through central and southern New Jersey.

The bigger impact of the front will be a brief period of gusty winds Tuesday evening, potentially over 30 mph. A chilly breeze (up to 20 mph) will continue overnight, as cooler air returns. Low temps will dip into the lower 40s across most of the state, with frosty 30s in northwestern NJ and the Pine Barrens.

So we flip back to the cool side of the world on Wednesday, with high temperatures about 10 degrees cooler in the mid 50s. It will be a sunny, breezy autumn day — once again feeling more like typical late November weather than late October.

Thursday looks even chillier, with highs barely popping into the lower 50s. Winds will be lighter and again we'll have sunny skies for the bulk of the day. Clouds will start to increase late Thursday afternoon.

Ahead of our next storm system, Friday turns mostly cloudy to overcast. An isolated shower will be possible during the day, but most rain is forecast to hold off until Friday night at the earliest. High temps to end the workweek will still be in the lower to mid 50s.

As I discussed in Monday's weather blog entry, the far-distant Hurricane Willa could eventually lead to a nasty weekend here in New Jersey. The storm is expected to track across Mexico, Texas, and the Gulf of Mexico, and then up the Atlantic seaboard. It will not be a hurricane or tropical system anymore at that point, but still a sizable and potentially powerful storm. Given the track, it's fair to call it a nor'easter, although I still prefer the term coastal storm.

The GFS and Euro have come more into line in terms of timing and impacts of this storm, but there are still some questions. Periods of moderate to heavy rain are possible from Friday night to Saturday, with wind gusts to 40 mph. The GFS shows an interesting solution that forms a secondary low right off the Jersey Shore, which would lead to another blast of rain and wind from Saturday night to Sunday. Given the orientation of the storm system(s) and the winds, rough surf and coastal flooding will be concerns too.

So it's becoming increasingly likely that the first half of the weekend (at least) will be nasty, possibly even a washout. Could the storm still "wiggle" out to sea? Absolutely. Could the storm produce some snow? Maybe, on the backside, in the higher elevations of NW NJ.

Again, I expect more confidence and finer details to start falling into place through the second half of the week. The weekend timing is unfortunate, given how many Halloween parades, trunk or treat events, and other outdoor fall activities are scheduled. For now, I would keep your weekend plans flexible.

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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