The Bottom Line
Let me address the elephant in the room first: the big Memorial Day Weekend forecast. Many forecasters out there have been hyping a "washout" — but let's hold our horses here. I will admit it is a complicated situation and close call, with a potential coastal storm system in play. But there is a reason I create a Five Day Forecast for the web — anything beyond that is usually low confidence. So it is too early to talk temperature and precipitation details for the holiday weekend. But I promise we will keep a close watch as the week rolls along.
Meanwhile, Monday will be a continuation of Sunday's beautiful weather. The big challenge during the workweek will be a shift in wind direction. Air blowing off the cool 60-degree ocean will cause some temperature troubles along the Jersey Shore.
A cold front arrives Wednesday evening, with a shower chance and cooldown.
For most of the state, Monday's weather will be very similar to Sunday's. Lots of sunshine, dry weather, and seasonable temperatures in the lower to mid 70s.
There are two exceptions. First, a shift in wind direction from northerly to southeasterly is expected Monday afternoon. That is an on-shore breeze. And the water in the Atlantic Ocean is still only about 59 to 62 degrees. So the Jersey Shore — especially areas east of the Garden State Parkway — will likely see air temperatures crash through the 60s Monday afternoon. Some extra clouds may build in as well.
The second exception is a minor one. There is a slight chance of a shower or sprinkle clipping far northern New Jersey Monday evening.
Otherwise, Monday night will be quiet and partly cloudy. Low temperatures should average lower 50s by Tuesday morning.
High pressure will remain in control of our atmosphere. But we'll still see that (light but persistent) southeast breeze.
Therefore, I have cooled the forecast a bit, with high temperatures ranging from 60 on barrier islands, to 65 degrees in mainland coastal towns, to about 70 degrees across inland New Jersey.
Another nice day. Just slightly cooler than normal for late May.
Wednesday has the potential to be the warmest day of the week, as highs push into the mid 70s away from the coast.
We should get some good sunshine through Wednesday morning and afternoon too. And then, a few changes will ensue as a cold front approaches from the northwest.
The breeze will increase starting around Wednesday mid-afternoon, with top gusts between 20 and 30 mph. Clouds will increase around that same time frame.
And then a batch of showers will push into northwestern New Jersey around dinnertime Wednesday, sliding south and east through late evening. There is a very good chance this band of rain dissipates before reaching the coast, so not everyone in New Jersey will get wet. Even if you do, total rainfall will likely be limited to a few hundredths of an inch.
One impact for everyone Wednesday night will be the return of chilly temperatures. And the return of jacket weather. We could see widespread 40s by Thursday morning. Possibly even some 30s (and patchy frost?) in northwestern New Jersey.
Thursday will be about 10 degrees cooler than Wednesday. But still pleasant overall.
High temperatures will be limited to the mid 60s Thursday afternoon. That is about 10 degrees below normal for this time of year.
Skies will clear throughout Thursday. I'm not sure whether we'll go full-bore "mostly sunny" or to halfway "partly sunny". But Thursday looks dry and not overly breezy.
The Extended Forecast
At play for the Memorial Day Weekend is a coastal storm system. Previous model runs showed a wet start to the holiday weekend for NJ. Latest guidance shows the energy and moisture getting stuck to our south, keeping Saturday dry and Sunday only partially showery.
Which of those solutions is going to play out? Probably neither of them. Because each model and each run shows a different outcome, forecast confidence remains unusually low for the weekend forecast. I could see things trending in either the wet or the dry direction. And temperatures will follow, with highs somewhere between the 60s and 80s, depending on cloud cover and rainfall extent.
Take any weekend forecast you see with a gigantic grain of salt for now. We will start talking more serious about holiday weather details starting on Wednesday. Not before.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.