48 hours of changing weather for NJ: Dreary to windy to wintry to nasty
The Bottom Line
The grand finale of this active week of weather is coming up, as a potent storm system is coming up on Friday. While there is a wintry component, this forecast continues to trend warmer. That leads to a more sleety, less snowy scenario for North Jersey. And makes it clear the primary impacts for most of New Jersey will be rain and wind. Peaking Friday night.
In the meantime, we'll deal with some fog, rain showers, and wind on Thursday.
The long-range forecast turns quiet next week. Although I do not see any more bursts of springlike warmth in the foreseeable future.
There will be a few weather nuisances Thursday, as a cold front approaches and sweeps through New Jersey. However, it also looks like the warmest day for the foreseeable future, especially in South Jersey.
We start the day with thick fog and rain showers. Much of the state is shrouded in pea soup, with widespread visibillities in the quarter-mile to half-mile range. The only exceptions are far northern and far southern NJ. A Dense Fog Advisory is in effect for most counties until 10 a.m.
In addition, a broken line of showers is rolling in from the west. Damp weather could have you reaching for the umbrella and/or windshield wipers for a few hours Thursday morning. Temperatures are above normal in all corners of New Jersey, so we are just talking about raindrops and not snowflakes here.
Weather conditions should start to brighten and improve around 10 or 11 a.m. And then we'll catch peeks of sun through Thursday afternoon. High temperatures will push to about 50 degrees in North Jersey, the mid to upper 50s in Central Jersey, and the lower 60s in South Jersey. All those numbers are above normal for early March.
Behind that cold front, a gusty wind will start to kick up by late afternoon too, peaking Thursday evening. Gusts to 30 mph are expected.
The rest of Thursday night will be quiet and dry. Partly cloudy and 30s.
The first half of the day will be fine. The second half gets nasty.
Friday morning will start with glimmers of sun, quickly disappearing behind clouds.
Our next storm system will drive in showers starting early Friday afternoon (1 p.m. or so). The brunt of that storm will arrive Friday evening, with heavier precipitation kicking in between about 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Things will start to wind down by daybreak Saturday morning, between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Let's talk about impacts. Once again, this really is not a snow storm. Latest model guidance points to more sleet than snow to the north, and a rainy, windy mess for most. Breaking the state into three regions:
—Along and north of I-80... Mainly wintry, snow and sleet, perhaps with some rain mixed in. Maximum 1 to 3 inches of accumulation, although models are leaning toward a warmer, wetter solution. There could be some slippery spots on roads, but it will not be a travel nightmare.
—The rest of Monday night's "snow zone"... Anywhere that saw a coating of snow earlier this week — as far south as Hunterdon, Mercer, Somerset, and Middlesex counties — could see a quick hit of wintry mix on the front end of this system Friday. Maybe even a coating on the ground. But, as temperatures warm, that will quickly flip to all rain during the height of the storm Friday night.
—Southern half of NJ... Wet and windy. Period.
Again, top snowfall totals are in the 1 to 3 inch range. It could be New Jersey's sixth 2+ inch snow event of the 2022-2023 winter season — but that is not a slam dunk.
Given the limited wintry weather potential, I opted not to draw a snow forecast map for this storm. I usually only do that when 2+ inches is likely, and I'm leaning away from that possibility at this time.
Rainfall could top an inch in mainly spots. Top wind gusts will hit 40+ mph Friday night. The combination of those two factors will make for a downright nasty period of weather.
And let's not forget the coast. The strongest winds will be blowing out of the east-southeast. A prominent on-shore flow, that will likely cause a foot or two of storm surge. That is enough to cause widespread minor category flooding of tidal waterways at high tide early Saturday morning.
Saturday is our "settle down" day. But I'm not sure it's going to be all that pleasant. Rain and snow showers will likely linger through at least the morning. (Maybe longer.) Clouds will hang overhead too, thinning into the afternoon.
Temperatures are tricky Saturday. Due to a surge of warmth in the early morning hours, thermometers will be in the upper 30s (north) to mid 50s (south) pre-dawn. Then temps drop, before recovering to the lower 40s (north) to lower 50s (south) in the afternoon. Given a persistent breeze, mixed skies, and damp conditions, you'll probably want a jacket all day Saturday.
Sunday will be the nicer day of the weekend, although a chilly northwest breeze will continue. Optimistically, we'll see mostly sunny skies across the day, with completely dry weather. High temperatures will be seasonable, peaking in the mid to upper 40s Sunday afternoon. Par for the course (or close to it) for early March.
The Extended Forecast
Quiet weather is the name of the game next week. Aside from a quick round of rain and snow showers Tuesday morning, I don't see much of anything developing.
Temperatures will be seasonable, mainly in the 40s, with some 50s popping up to the south. Things may start to get active again next weekend, as we enter the final 10 day stretch of 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.