Occasional rain showers and rising thermometers ahead for NJ
Here comes Spring! Yes, our weather forecast remains a bit unsettled, with some rain and cloudiness. But the taste of warmth will be wonderful. This will be our first stretch of above-normal temperatures in over 3 weeks!
As I mentioned in Tuesday's edition of the weather blog, the rainfall timeline is still very difficult to pinpoint. I think models have a better handle on the spread and intensity of this week's wet weather, but it's not perfect. If you want to be especially safe and dry, keep the umbrella handy through early Friday afternoon.
Wednesday morning radar is showing some shower and sprinkle activity over New Jersey — all very light and inconsequential to the morning commute. With temperatures right around 32 degrees along the higher elevations of NW NJ, a bit of freezing drizzle and light icing is possible. The National Weather Service popped a Winter Weather Advisory for Sussex County until 9 a.m. However, any travel impacts will be very limited.
Through Wednesday afternoon, scattered rain showers will push through the state. As our atmosphere moistens up (dew points rise from the 30s to the 50s), the chance for steadier, somewhat heavier rain increases. But again, no downpours and no washouts are anticipated.
I'm describing skies as mostly cloudy for Wednesday, but that does include a brief peek or two of sunshine at some point. High temperatures will return to near-normal levels, in the lower to mid 50s. One notable exception to those 50s will be anywhere that has a bay to the southwest — far SW NJ, and barrier islands. In those coastal locations, thermometers will likely struggle to reach even 40 degrees.
Wednesday night looks mostly dry, although we'd be foolish to completely disregard the chance for an isolated rain shower. Yes, just rain — overnight low temperatures will only drop into the lower 40s.
More of the same for Thursday, with a few showers in the forecast. Best chance looks to be in northern New Jersey. Meanwhile, amidst the raindrops, warmer air will continue to bubble up from the south. But it won't reach the entire state, leading to a wide range of high temperatures. We'll end up near 50 degrees in far North Jersey, near 60 degrees in Central Jersey and along the coast, and around 70 degrees for inland South Jersey.
An approaching cold front will put an end to this warm and unsettled streak, spawning one more round of steady rain and possible thunderstorms Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, skies will begin to clear with a gusty northwesterly wind kicking up.
Models are showing two very different temperature situations for Friday. The NAM starts the cooldown early, with high temps only in the mid 50s. The GFS delays the cooler air until Friday night, allowing high temps to reach near 70 degrees once again. I've settled on a middle-ground solution (mostly 60s), but I think the thermometer could ultimately swing either way. Timing is everything here yet again — a few hours could mean a difference of 15+ degrees.
The Easter Weekend on the whole looks good. Even though it will be cooler, daily high temperatures for Saturday and Sunday will only knock back to the mid 50s. That's close to normal for late March/early April.
Skies will be mostly to partly sunny throughout the weekend. The only hiccup will be a weak cold front Sunday morning, which could spark a few rain or snow showers in the Garden State. Winds will also be elevated on Sunday, with gusts potentially over 30 mph.
Looking long-range, there are no major snowstorms, cooldowns, or warmups in the foreseeable future. Seasonably cool, occasionally damp weather should continue through the first week of April.