NJ Winter Solstice weather: Seasonably chilly, some showers ahead
The Bottom Line
Happy 1st Day of Winter! The Winter Solstice officially arrives at 10:59 a.m. Tuesday. This is the day the northern hemisphere reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun (23.5 degrees). That means we only get about 9 hours and 20 minutes of daylight, making for the shortest day and longest night of the year. The Winter Solstice is a time of great celebration — days only get longer and brighter from here!
As we enter the new season and continue barreling through the Christmas week, there are far more chilly days than warm days ahead.
There's also a series of approximately 4 storm systems aiming for New Jersey through the Christmas weekend. All of them minor. Most of them wet, not wintry.
I think it's fair to call it a seasonably start to winter. Tuesday morning is not quite as cold as Monday morning — but it's close. Averaging 20s to start the day, you may find some frost on the windshield.
Look for highs in the mid 40s Tuesday afternoon. Again, slightly better than Monday. Skies will progress from partly to mostly cloudy. Winds will be light, and daytime weather will be dry.
A coastal storm system will just barely kiss our coastline Tuesday night. It could come close enough to drive some showers through southern and eastern New Jersey. But that blanket of clouds should keep temperatures above the freezing mark, about 35 to 40 degrees. (While NW NJ could fall below 32, showers probably won't reach that far inland.)
Any and all raindrops will wrap-up by mid-morning by the latest. Then skies will become bright and sunny by Wednesday afternoon. High temperatures should once again reach the mid 40s by Wednesday afternoon.
However, we also face a reinforcing shot of colder air arriving Wednesday afternoon. That will come with a burst of wind, possibly gusting to 35 mph. So a few hours of blustery weather will add a bite to the chilly air.
Uneventful, but cold. Mostly sunny, calm and dry. High temperatures only make it around 40 degrees.
Friday (Christmas Eve)
A weak impulse will ride from west to east across New Jersey early Friday morning. If the air isn't too dry, some snow or rain showers are possible. Best chance of light precipitation would be in northern NJ. And if we lean toward the coldest, snowier solution, accumulations would be very limited. (Some models are pumping out upwards of an inch on the ground, but I don't buy it at all.)
The rest of your Christmas Eve will be quiet and dry, with partly sunny skies. Highs should recover to the near-normal lower to mid 40s.
Saturday (Christmas Day)
Warmer, but also a bit unsettled. Temperatures across southern and central New Jersey will surge into the 50s. Not quite warm, but it will be a welcome break from the recent chilldown.
A couple more waves of precipitation are possible both early and late on Christmas Day too. Just rain. Nothing crazy or travel-headache-inducing.
Sunday & Beyond
We'll maintain status quo weather heading into the last week of 2021. Temperatures generally at or below seasonal normals. And a few weak storm systems pushing through some active weather. There's still enough time for the atmosphere to work up an early season snow storm before 2022 arrives. But that opportunity is rapidly dwindling as New Year's Day approaches.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.