Last Wednesday — nine days ago — I wrote the following in my weather blog:

Long-range models show a warmup into the 70s and even 80s in New Jersey by next weekend.

Well, here we are. Over the last 9 days, we've endured snow and frost (and some sunshine too). And generally below-normal temperatures. But now, the big warmup is here! And there is a lot to like about this forecast.

However, as we've discussed for the past several days, there are a number of nuances and important bullet points attached: Wind, sea breezes, showers, thunderstorms, and an eventual return to dismal weather.

Early Friday morning, we are seeing widely scattered pockets of rain across New Jersey, associated with our warm front lifting through the state. Guidance suggests those raindrops will fizzle out by around 10 a.m., with clouds clearing to sunshine shortly thereafter.

I've been able to dial back our wind forecast Friday, with top gusts around 30 mph. I think it's appropriate to now call the day breezy instead of windy.

And, of course, it's going to be nice and warm Friday afternoon. High temperatures across the vast majority of the state will range from 80 to 85 degrees. There are a few exceptions: far NW NJ, on barrier islands, and along the Delaware Bay. Ocean water temperatures are still cool, in the mid 50s right now, which can have dramatic effects on the weather along the coast. (More on that later...)

As a cold front slowly sags toward New Jersey Friday evening, we are still watching the potential for some showers and thunderstorms. But models have really backed off the rainfall potentially, especially for the southern half of the state. This is more a matter of timing than anything else. After sunset, the atmosphere loses its heat and therefore loses its energy to grow storms. The chance for scattered rain will continue through early Saturday morning.

And I'm still liking the overall sound of Saturday's forecast. Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy, and aside from that early shower chance the day should be dry. Humidity will scale back a bit, making the air more comfortable. High temperatures will be slightly cooler, in the mid 70s across most of the state. The only significant wrinkle here is a more prominent sea breeze. That will limit temperatures along the Jersey Shore to the 60s Saturday afternoon — a much less favorable "beach day" than Friday.

Our next pattern change arrives on Sunday. And unfortunately, it's not a good one. Our weather will stagnate, as a blocking pattern causes a storm system to get stuck over the U.S. East Coast. Also at play here is a potential tropical system — the National Hurricane Center has posted a 70% chance it becomes a named storm within 48 hours. (FYI, Arthur is the first name on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane list.)

The latest model guidance actually shows limited raindrops Sunday afternoon. But the return of a southeasterly (on-shore) breeze will drive an increase in cloud cover and much cooler temperatures. I'm pegging high temperatures in the 60s Sunday, back to the realm of below-normal.

And get used to that forecast. Because until we get another shift in the atmosphere, we'll be stuck under thick clouds, occasional showers, and below-normal temperatures. That's through at least the first half of the week — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.

The big problem here is how dynamic this situation is — I can't pinpoint precisely when it's going to rain, or exactly how cool it's going to be on a given day. It's all based on the exact position and orientation of that aforementioned "stuck" storm system. Best case scenario, clouds and 60s. Worst case scenario, persistent showers and only 50s.

There's reason to stay optimistic that we'll start to emerge from that dismal weather around Thursday of next week. (We've already backed off of a days of soaking rain forecast.) But I will warn there there is a chance that raindrops and clouds linger into the start of the Memorial Day Weekend. Obviously a possibility we'll continue to watch carefully next week.

Have yourself a wonderful weekend! Be sure to lather up on the sunscreen if you spend time outdoors, and grab the sunglasses too. Stay cool, stay safe, and stay healthy, my friends!

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.

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