The Bottom Line

As of this writing, the Vernal Equinox — the start of astronomical spring — is less than 54 hours away. Counting down the final days of winter, we do have some beautifully bright and warm weather to talk about. But also a transition over the weekend, resulting in some rain and a cooldown.

Friday

Fueled by abundant ground-level moisture from Thursday's rain and drizzle (also known as "puddles"), widespread fog has developed across most of New Jersey on this early Friday. Visibility is down to a quarter-mile in many spots. Low-beam headlights and slow down if you have to. A Dense Fog Advisory remains in effect for most of the state until 10 a.m.

So we have some fog and low cloud issues Friday morning. But from midday to the afternoon, sunshine and warm temperatures will win the day.

You may want a jacket early on Friday, but you can probably ditch it later. Inland New Jersey should reach into the lower 70s Friday. Coastal areas will fall victim to the sea breeze machine once again, with beaches probably limited to the 50s through the afternoon.

Friday evening looks good too. In fact, I doubt overnight low temperatures will fall below the 50s. Increasing clouds will accompany patchy fog. Rain showers may push in from the west after Midnight.

Saturday

An unsettled day. But it won't be a washout. There is zero chance of snow. And we'll stay on the warm side for one more day.

It looks like the rain will come in two rounds. First, a batch of scattered showers will push through the state Saturday morning. That should wrap up by about 10 a.m., although I wouldn't rule out isolated raindrops into the lunchtime hours.

Then we catch a break. Skies will remain mostly cloudy to overcast. High temperatures should reach the lower to mid 60s.

The grand finale of the day will be a possible wave of scattered thunderstorms in the early evening hours — between about 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Storms aren't guaranteed everywhere, but there could be some pockets of heavy rain and dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning.

Total rainfall across the day will range from a tenth of an inch to a half-inch (if it really pours).

Following the storms, a cold front will push across New Jersey Saturday evening. That will introduce cooler, drier air by Sunday morning.

Sunday

Turning cooler for the first day of spring. But not quite "cold" — temperatures will just be knocked back to more seasonable levels.

Our latest forecast puts highs in the mid 50s Sunday afternoon. It will be a bright and breezy day, featuring periods of sunshine and clouds. The northwest breeze could blow as high as 30 mph at times. Overall, a nice day.

The Extended Forecast

Monday looks good too, as temps climb into the lower 60s. It may still be a bit breezy. We'll enjoy lots of sunshine.

Clouds and 50s on Tuesday. Then our next storm system shows up in model guidance, in the Wednesday-Thursday time frame. There could be an extended period of healthy (if not heavy) rainfall there — definitely a good thing, given our "Moderate Drought" status over a quarter of the state. I also wouldn't rule out some wintry mix in North Jersey, if we get an influx of colder air at some point.

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.

Best coffee shops & cafes near NJ beaches

When it comes to food, New Jersey is known for many things such as pizza and pork roll. Don't count us out when it comes to coffee.

With all the hustle and bustle involved in the average New Jersey resident's day, coffee is essential. It doesn't matter whether you're living in the cities of North Jersey or the vacation spots at the shore.

In fact, as the former owner of two Jersey shore coffee houses, Coffee Dot Comedy in Sea Isle City and the Daily Grind in Ocean Grove, I know firsthand how much people at the Jersey shore love their coffee.

With respect to that, I asked my social media following where the best coffee houses at the Jersey Shore were, especially since my two places no longer exist.

Below is what they came up with. (And see this other article for their coffee shop and cafe recommendations for Central Jersey.)

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