Soaked again: Next storm system will bring almost all rain to NJ
Our arctic blast is over! Temperatures are much more reasonable and seasonable Wednesday morning, and will keep rising and rising over the next 24 to 36 hours. However, the warmup comes with a wetdown, as the next storm system in line sets sights on New Jersey.
As of this writing Wednesday morning, north-to-south temperatures range from near 20 to the lower 30s. Much better than that single-digit nonsense. Skies will be mostly cloudy to overcast Wednesday, with widely scattered showers and sprinkles becoming possible by late morning into the afternoon. Honestly, most of the state (especially south and west) looks dry until much later.
I am a little concerned that the frozen ground in North Jersey (let's say, north of Interstate 78) will allow for a bit of freezing rain or freezing drizzle as precipitation begins. Remember, freezing rain looks like rain, sounds like rain, feels like rain, smells like rain, and tastes like rain — until it hits a cold surface and freezes on contact. It doesn't take much freezing drizzle to make things very slippery.
Wednesday afternoon temperatures are expected to range from the upper 30s (North) to mid 40s (Central) to near 50 (South). Thermometers will continue to warm through the 40s and into the 50s Wednesday night.
It looks like we're really going to get drenched overnight. Periods of moderate to heavy rain will probably add up to 1 to 2 inches by the time things taper off around midday Thursday. That might be enough to cause some ponding and flooding issues, especially if heavy downpours develop — flood watches are posted for most of the state.
Rumbles of thunder will be possible too. That's pretty unusual for January.
As rain tapers off Thursday afternoon, a gusty northwesterly wind (up to about 30 mph) will bring back colder air. This won't be a dramatic batten-down-the-hatches arctic blast, but it certainly will be noticeable. Temperatures will fall from the 50s in the morning to the 30s by sunset.
As the air cools, the last licks of our storm system could produce a few snowflakes rather than raindrops. Accumulation is highly unlikely, especially since the ground will be soaked.
More concerning would be the return of subfreezing temperatures Thursday night, which could lead to icy spots by Friday morning. It doesn't appear to be a dangerously fast, widespread "flash freeze" like last weekend.
By Friday, we're back on the cold side of the world. It will be mostly sunny and breezy, with highs in the mid to upper 30s. A few flurries are possible.
For the first time in a long time, we've got a quiet (although chilly) weekend on the way. Saturday looks quite cold — teens in the morning, near 30 degrees in the afternoon. Sunday's temps will be colder, with highs in the 40s for most of the state. A mix of sun and clouds will accompany a stray snow shower to close out the weekend.
The next storm system we're watching for wintry potential is scheduled for next Monday night into Tuesday. The GFS is currently showing a snow-to-rain-to-snow event, with minor accumulations possible on the front and back end. Too early to pinpoint details, but it will be worth watching as early next week gets closer.