Dry air is a wonderful thing. While Monday morning's low temperatures were in the 30s, we managed to hit 70+ degrees across most of the state. Another spectacular day, as long as the pollen didn't affect your sinuses too much. We have to put the pleasant, sunny weather on hold for a couple of days, as a storm system will drive an extended period of rain through New Jersey. Bye bye dry air, for now.

The thickest clouds aren't here yet, so Tuesday morning's temperatures are cooler than forecast. You'll feel chilly 30s and 40s as you step out the front door. Clouds will increase as the day goes on, accompanied by a stiff southeasterly breeze of 10 to 20 mph. There could be a few light showers and sprinkles during the day Tuesday, but almost all models keep the rain away from the Garden State until just after sunset. (The exception is the NAM model, which pushes rain into NJ Tuesday afternoon — I think that's too fast, and our atmosphere will be too dry at that point to sustain steady rain.)

The heaviest rain is expected early Wednesday morning, illustrated by the NAM model. (College of DuPage Meteorology)
The heaviest rain is expected early Wednesday morning, illustrated by the NAM model. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

Rain becomes increasingly likely for all of New Jersey Tuesday night. That rain will probably be steady, if not heavy, through much of the overnight. A few rumbles of thunder are certainly possible along the way. Rainfall totals in the 0.50" to 1.50" range seem likely, with localized amounts up to 3.00" (if it really pours). That's enough to raise concerns about minor flooding of low-lying and urban areas, if drainage systems become inundated by a heavy downpour. It is unlikely that dramatic flash flooding will not be an issue for the duration of this rain event.

The heaviest rain looks to fall in the early Wednesday morning hours. The Wednesday morning commute could still be pretty wet. As the storm system starts to depart to the north and east midday Wednesday, steady rain will taper to scattered showers through Wednesday afternoon. Amidst the raindrops, it will remain cloudy and breezy. But temperatures should remain mild, reaching the 60s once again.

By Thursday morning, residual showers and sprinkles should be done, and skies will quickly clear away to sunshine. We'll warm back up to the upper 60s to around 70 degrees, making Thursday another spectacular Spring day all around.

Rain returns to the forecast on Friday, this time in the light to moderate rain. These showers may be our last widespread, organized chance of rain for a while.

Yes, that means the weekend is still looking great! I'm seeing partly sunny skies for Saturday. A slight chance of a late-day shower is hardly worth mentioning. We'll see high temperatures close to 70 degrees to start the weekend. Sunday looks sunnier and slightly cooler in the mid 60s, but still fine and dandy.

A stretch of warming, mostly dry weather is forecast for next week. I still think our next 80-degree day may come within the first few days of May.

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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