Big weather changes Friday for NJ: From warm and wet, to windy and cold
The Bottom Line
It has been a weird week of weather. A continuation of a weird winter really. 60s and 70s in February!
Now we are primed to transition back to more typical February-ish weather. For one whole day, at least.
Here's how that transition will play out. Solid rain from Friday morning through early afternoon. A gusty wind kicks in Friday afternoon. And temperatures will start to tumble. Saturday morning will end up 30 to 40 degrees colder than Friday morning.
While Saturday will be seasonably chilly, temperatures should bounce right back into the 50s through early next week. Still no solid snow chances in sight.
It is a cold front day. That is the front edge of a new air mass, set to push west-to-east across New Jersey around early afternoon Friday. That frontal boundary will do three things: 1.) Shut off the rain, 2.) Kick up a gusty wind, and 3.) Send temperatures into a spiral.
As of this writing (6 a.m.), rain is starting to push into New Jersey from the southwest. It is going to turn into a soggy, sloppy morning. A broad area of rain will be over the state from around 7 or 8 a.m. through early afternoon, tapering around 1 or 2 p.m.
Rain could be heavy at times, with rumbles of thunder possible. Also different forecast models have different ideas about total rainfall — between a few hundredths and over an inch — I'm thinking we will average a half-inch in the bucket by the end of the day. Healthy, solid rain. (And we actually need it, after a pretty dry February so far.)
The second part of today will be the afternoon: Slowly clearing skies, wind gusts to 30-40 mph, and temperatures starting their decline. I think we'll progress from near 60 (late morning) to the 40s for most by sunset.
And temperatures will continue to drop Friday night. We will bottom out around the mid 20s by Saturday morning. A widespread freeze
Saturday will be New Jersey's coldest day in at least a week and a half. But it's not a dramatic "arctic blast" — just a (temporary) return to seasonable temperatures.
In fact, high temperatures on Saturday are forecast to hit exactly normal for mid-February, around 40 to 45 degrees. The wind will calm down considerably by daybreak. And the rest of the day will be sunny and dry.
I know we've been spoiled with warm, springy weather lately. But that outlook really reads like a pleasant February day, all things considered.
Just like that, we're back on the mild side. As a southwest wind kicks up Sunday, just shy of the "breezy range," high temperatures will recover to around 50 degrees. More typical of March than February.
Skies may be a little gray and dull on Sunday, as cloud cover increases quite a bit. A few models hint at a stray sprinkle or shower at some point, but I consider the rain chance low overall.
Monday & Beyond
Monday and Tuesday look fairly similar. Mostly cloudy and lower to mid 50s. Again, maybe a couple of stray showers around at some point. All minor, all raindrops.
Another storm system will lift into New Jersey late Wednesday. While we had been watching this one for some wintry potential, the latest models show a very warm solution. So yet again, it looks like a rainmaker for New Jersey. Highs on Wednesday may shoot for 60 degrees.
The end of next week looks pretty wild again. We could see 70s again Wednesday into Thursday. Followed by a bitter blast of cold air for the last weekend of February.
Could that refreshed cold air set us up for at least a little bit of snow by month's end? Eh. We'll see.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.