NJ’s forecast for the final weekend of February: Wet, warm, windy
After a spectacular springlike day on Thursday with most temperatures in the fantastic 50s, we have about 36 hours of quiet weather left. With a surge of raindrops and warm air in the forecast for the weekend, it's not going to feel much like February.
We're waking up to some surprise raindrops in South Jersey on this Friday morning. I had called for an isolated shower early in the week, but then figured dry air would limit those rain chances. Nothing heavy, just some drips and drops, and we should dry out by about 8 a.m.
Even though skies will be mostly cloudy and Friday's temperatures will be cooler than Thursday's, it won't be too bad of a day. We'll see high temperatures in the mid 40s, pretty close to seasonal normals for late February. You might encounter an occasional breeze, up to 20 mph.
We'll keep lots of cloud cover Friday night, which will again prevent temperatures from falling too far. It will be a dry night, with low temperatures around 30.
The forecast for Saturday daytime stays quiet, although pretty cloudy and grey. High temperatures will hold steady in the lower to mid 40s.
Our next storm system arrives late-day Saturday. This one is going to be all wet (not wintry) for the Garden State. I could see raindrops creep across the Delaware River in western New Jersey by Saturday late afternoon. But it looks like the steadiest, most widespread rain will hold off until Saturday evening.
Periods of light to moderate rain will continue through at least the first half of Sunday. Don't be surprised if you hear a few rumbles of thunder. It is possible raindrops linger into part of Sunday afternoon too, but I'm not convinced.
Along with the wet weather will come a surge of warm air from the southwest. We're talking about high temperatures in the upper 50s to lower 60s (at least) for Sunday — that is about 15 to 20 degrees above normal for this time of year.
Unfortunately, the warmth will not last very long. Within a few hours of the rain wrapping up, a strong cold front will introduce a strong westerly wind to New Jersey. Sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph will be possible — that's enough to blow your garbage cans around, and possibly bring down some vulnerable trees and power lines. As skies clear, temperatures will start to tumble by Sunday evening.
Even though we'll cool down again through early next week, I am struggling to call this a true arctic blast — it's not going to get that cold. It's still going to be blustery (and sunny) on Monday, with high temps in the mid 40s. (Again that's near-normal.) By Tuesday, it will be rightfully chilly with thermometers struggling to reach 40 degrees.
Our next storm system is scheduled for the Wednesday-Thursday time frame. Forecast models have been flip-flopping between rain, marginal snow, and nothing possibilities. I'm not concerned about this blowing up into a giant, crippling snowstorm. Just something worth watching.
So it is totally possible that we're done with snow for the month of February. In the long-term forecast, I do see a resurgence of cold air in the first week of March. Furthermore, the overall storm track could shift to become more conducive to strong snow storms (i.e. nor'easters).
I keep saying it every week, if not every day. Winter ain't over yet.