Thanksgiving weekend weather for NJ: Rain showers, fierce wind, possible wintry mix
Remember Thanksgiving 2018? An arctic blast smashed records and made for a brutally cold holiday weekend. Temperatures on Thursday, November 22, 2018 remained below freezing all day. And Black Friday wasn't much better.
So by those standards, this year's Thanksgiving holiday will be much better! However, as the headline of this post suggests, we do have three potential weather issues to explore throughout the extended weekend: showers, wind, and a strong end-of-weekend storm system. It's not all bad news though, as we will see periods of sunshine and dry weather along the way too.
Your Thanksgiving Eve is starting with temperatures around 40 degrees (give or take) and some patchy fog. (I've seen visibilities as low as 2 miles — not overly dense or widespread.) We'll get one more day on the mild side, with high temperatures generally topping out between 55 and 60 degrees (for all but far northern NJ).
In addition, a storm system passing well north of New Jersey is shooting some rain toward us. As of this writing, there is a pretty solid band of rain moving eastward across Pennsylvania. However, models suggest this steady rain will fizzle before reaching the Garden State. So we're maintaining a forecast of scattered rain showers throughout Wednesday. In other words, you'll probably get wet at some point. But it won't be a washout — just wetter and less nice than Tuesday. Rainfall totals should end up less than a tenth of an inch.
Clouds should start to break apart Wednesday afternoon. And then our attention turns to some fierce winds kicking up.
Gusts to 40 mph still seem likely from Wednesday evening through Thursday morning. Flight delays at area airports are likely, as flights are spaced out for safety. Meanwhile, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons are in trouble. (I've been told they'll make an official decision on whether the balloons fly early Thursday morning.)
It will remain windy and blustery throughout your Thanksgiving Day Thursday. At least it will be a dry day, with a mix of sun and clouds. Temperatures will be cooler, but not frigid — look for highs near 50 degrees Thursday afternoon.
The wind finally calms down Thursday night into Black Friday. Friday will be mostly sunny and cool, with highs limited to the mid 40s. (Late November's normal high temp is in the lower 50s.)
Saturday looks quiet too, with sun transitioning to clouds. High temperatures will only be in the lower to mid 40s.
A powerful storm system crashed into the Oregon coast late Tuesday, with hurricane-force winds. It will take several days for that area of low pressure to reach the East Coast. But when it does, it will tap into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico before intensifying over the Atlantic Ocean. I am becoming increasingly concerned that we are facing a potential mess for the end of the holiday weekend, Sunday-Monday.
According to the latest model guidance, things have shifted 1.) later, 2.) stronger, and 3.) colder since we last spoke. While a snow shower is possible Saturday night, the precipitation start time for most of New Jersey will hold off until Sunday. Of course, that is one of the busiest travel days of the year so this could be extra impactful.
Best-case scenario? All rain. Cold, uncomfortable rain. Possibly 1 to 2 inches of total rainfall — that's very wet. (The Euro model favors a mainly rain forecast so far.)
Worst-case scenario? Wintry mix on Sunday, transitioning to accumulating snow on Monday. (The GFS model is painting some unrealistically big snow totals over NJ by Tuesday morning.)
It's still too early to hazard a guess at potential accumulations or lay out a detailed timeline. And, to be honest, we may have to wait until the very last-minute given the "kitchen sink" wintry mix possibilities, which will be highly dependent on the exact temperature profile of the atmosphere.
For now, let's just keep in mind two things: 1.) The end of the holiday weekend and/or return-to-work might get messy, and 2.) it will be very important to keep an eye and ear on this forecast as it continues to develop over the holiday.
We will most likely remain in daily weather blog mode throughout the holiday weekend. And, as always, we'll have regular forecast updates on the radio and social media too.
I truly hope you and your family have a safe, relaxing, and delicious Thanksgiving holiday!