NJ’s big weather story: A big cooldown for the last weekend of March
The Bottom Line
You really can't complain too much about our recent stretch of soggy weather. With 100% of New Jersey now classified as "Abnormally Dry" and 26% of the state still in the "Moderate Drought" category, we really did need the rain. Top rainfall totals approaches two inches - a healthy soaking.
Once conditions dry out and clear out a bit, Friday will turn into a nice day. Then we have to look ahead to tumbling temperatures over the weekend. Saturday will be cooler, with some showers. Sunday looks chilly. And Monday? Downright cold.
As of this writing (6 a.m.), radar has cleared across the state. Even though "rain" is done falling, we'll still see puddles and drizzle and mist and low clouds over the next few hours Friday morning.
By lunchtime Friday, I expect brightening skies and substantial breaks of sun.
This afternoon looks great. Breezy and mild, with high temperatures around 60 degrees. That is about 5 degrees above normal for this time of year.
Soak it in and enjoy - Friday may be our warmest and nicest day for almost a week.
Friday evening will stay quiet. It will be partly cloudy and cool overnight, with lows in the lower 40s.
Definitely cooler. And you may need the umbrella for a bit too.
Saturday will start off fine. Expect clouds and some sun, with high temperatures around 50 to 55 degrees. That is right around or just below normal for late March.
The only wrinkle for Saturday will come from a batch of scattered rain showers that will slide through the state in the midday to afternoon hours. (About Noon to 6 p.m.) Rainfall looks light, less than a tenth of an inch.
It should be just warm enough in NW NJ that we don't have to worry about snowflakes this time around.
Cold air returns. After almost two weeks of mild, pleasant weather, this big cooldown may be a shock to the system. But it's only early spring. It's only late March. The growing season has not begun yet. And transition seasons usually feature large temperature swings.
Sunday morning, we'll see lows in the 30s. A frost or a freeze is likely for non-coastal and non-city areas. (Remember, it doesn't have to hit 32 degrees for frost to form - usually 36 or 37 is sufficient.)
Sunday afternoon highs will only reach the upper 40s or so, putting us firmly back in all-day jacket weather. It will be partly sunny. And I have opted for a dry forecast, although a sprinkle or flurry isn't impossible at some point.
Feeling like mid-January. Morning lows will be in the teens and 20s. Given the latest model temperature guidance, I suspect the entire state will freeze - even along the coast.
And highs will struggle to reach 40 degrees. That is akin to a "dead of winter" kind of day.
A gusty northwest wind will keep wind chills in the teens and 20s throughout the day too. Ugh.
At least it will be dry and bright, with passing clouds overhead.
Tuesday & Beyond
Tuesday will remain unseasonably cold, although bright and sunny. Highs will improve slightly into the lower-mid 40s.
Wednesday gets closer to seasonal normals, with thermometers pushing to near 50.
And then late-week gets trickier, as our weather turns stormier. We'll nail down exact temperatures and the timing of rain (and maybe some snowflakes?) as it gets closer.
Have a great weekend! Stay warm!
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.