Quiet weather for Wednesday daytime, then another wild transition
If you have been following the forecast this week, you know we have another big weather transition on the way. I have tweaked the timing of our impending rain, wind, and big cooldown. And I've also dialed back the intensity of the end-of-week arctic blast. It's still going to bring some of the coldest air of the season so far. (Although that's really not saying much, given our mild and non-snowy winter so far!)
We're waking up to mostly cloudy skies and cool temperatures on this Wednesday morning, in the upper 30s to around 40 degrees. We had picked up a stiff breeze overnight, which has since subsided. The daytime hours for Wednesday will remain quiet and calm. Even though cloud cover will remain overhead, you'll hopefully catch a few breaks of sunshine along the way. High temperatures will reach the mid 40s — cooler than Tuesday, but slightly above-normal for mid-February.
As our next storm system (a slow-moving cold front) approaches from the west, a shower may creep in to New Jersey as early as 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. The main band of precipitation should hold off until after 7 p.m. Wednesday evening.
Once again, we're facing mainly wet weather, rather than wintry. However, in northwestern New Jersey only, a brief period of wintry mix (snowflakes and/or freezing rain) is possible for a few hours at onset. I am still not concerned about accumulations or travel woes. I fully agree with the National Weather Service's decision to not issue any advisories in the Sussex/Warren county area. (Although there are advisories posted just across the border, in Pike and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania.)
Wednesday night will be wet. And most of Thursday looks rainy too. Total rainfall estimates range from a quarter-inch (north) to upwards of an inch (south). Another soaker — but once again I do not think we'll face huge downpours and/or widespread flooding. Rain should start to wind down Thursday mid-afternoon.
There's another issue for Thursday — wind. Sustained winds will be in the "breezy" range, which I define as 10 to 20 mph. (Initially out of the south, then flipping to northwesterly later.) Forecast models are spitting out some gusts to 40 mph, which would be a bit more impactful. (Driving difficulties, downed branches, sporadic power outages, etc.) Overall, it doesn't look like an incredibly pleasant weather day.
Temperatures Thursday afternoon are tricky. While North Jersey will get stuck in the mid 40s or so, most of the state will spike into the 50s. (Maybe even 60 in South Jersey?) That's an effect of the aforementioned southerly flow, and something called pre-frontal compression. We almost always experience a noticeable spike in temperatures before a cooldown.
And that cooldown is going to be more than noticeable. Thermometers may start crashing Thursday late afternoon in North Jersey. For most of the state, however, it looks like the cold air will (just barely) hold off until Thursday night. (That will be well after the end of precipitation, so a flash freeze shouldn't be an urgent concern.)
By Friday afternoon temperatures will be stuck in the upper 20s to lower 30s. (As I mentioned, I've backed off on the frigidity here.) A biting breeze will push the wind chill into the teens and 20s for most of Friday. I don't think we're going to break any records, but it will be time to dig out the heavy winter coat again.
Saturday will be the bottom of the barrel, as we end up right in the core of this arctic air mass. Saturday morning lows will be in the teens. (Maybe some single digits in North Jersey.) Saturday afternoon highs will only reach about 30 degrees again. At least skies will be sunny and winds will be lighter.
On Sunday, a southwesterly flow will bring back slightly warmer and moister air. Partial clouds will accompany temps bumping back into the more seasonable 40s. The GFS model shows a snow showers on Sunday too.
Temperatures head back into the "chilly zone" on Monday, as a weak cold front drops highs to a below-normal 40 degrees. Skies will be mostly sunny.
The next storm system in line is set for Tuesday. And, as temperatures bounce back into the 40s, it's looking like another rainmaker.
In fact, there are no significant winter storms on the horizon for New Jersey. Surprise, surprise...