I sure hope you like wind, New Jersey! Things are about to get gusty on Thursday, as a "whoosh" of colder air arrives from the west. It's hard to call this an arctic blast, as temperatures aren't going to nosedive. But elevated wind speeds will be with us for several days in a row — batten down the hatches, and be prepared to bundle up!

As expected, we had some pouring rain pass through New Jersey overnight. As of this writing (5:30 a.m.) Thursday morning, there are only a few rain showers lingering over the state. Within an hour or two, those will depart. And then skies will clear to sunshine by Thursday late morning — the bright sky will be a nice change of pace after a few days of gloomy weather.

However, our big weather story of the day will become a gusty wind. Regular gusts between 30 and 40 mph are expected through Thursday afternoon. That's enough to blow around garbage cans, making walking difficult, and possibly cause isolated power outages. (Note: No Wind Advisory though, since gusts are expected to stay just below advisory criteria, 40+ mph.)

That westerly wind will carry in colder air, but again thermometers are not going to plummet too quickly. We're starting the day in the 40s, and we'll probably see temperatures around 40 degrees (give or take) by sunset.

Thursday night is definitely going to be cold, as lows dip into the mid 20s. It will be mostly clear. And dry. And still windy — so we have to break out the ol' wind chill calculator. (As I'm sure you know, that is the "feels like" or "apparent" temperature.) Wind chills will easily fall into the teens overnight.

Friday will bring more of the same — mostly sunny skies, a brisk wind (although not quite as gusty), and chilly temperatures. Highs will be in the lower 40s, which is only a few degrees below-normal for late February.

As a weak front — a reinforcing shot of cold air — arrives late-day, we could see a few snow or rain showers. I'm looking at Friday late afternoon to evening for those showers, and especially in southern New Jersey (slightly more moisture available). No accumulations, no travel impacts, no big deal. Just a smattering of snowflakes and/or raindrops.

Saturday will probably be the coldest day of this particular stretch, with highs limited to the mid to upper 30s. Periods of sun and clouds will mix with some flurries. It will not be as windy as Thursday or Friday, but we'll keep a biting breeze in the forecast.

Things look better on Sunday, with lighter winds, abundant sunshine, and highs back in the lower 40s.

The forecast for next week gets unsettled and complicated. And every forecast model run looks a little different — which means confidence is quite low. (Especially with regard to temperatures.)

I believe thermometers will spike into the 50s (at least) starting Monday, with some spotty rain showers around. Rain becomes more widespread on Tuesday, and this storm system will probably linger into Wednesday too. We'll have a better idea of the rain timing and more precise temperatures soon.

As we've discussed endlessly, the window for a significant winter storm is rapidly closing. Neither the GFS nor the Euro show any substantial snow through March 13. And you'll recall that the statistics show big storms are very rare after the first day of Spring (March 19th this year). Snow lovers, time is definitely running out on this winter!

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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