A typical January weekend for NJ: Chilly air and some snow
The Bottom Line
New Jersey's last widespread freeze was December 29th. We've been under a ridiculously warm air mass for more than a week. And it's about time for more seasonable weather to take over, don't you think?
Temperatures on Friday will technically climb above normal, but we are already back in jacket weather. At least conditions will dry out and skies will brighten.
The weekend reads like typical January. Sun and clouds. A chilly breeze. Highs mainly in the 40s.
And then there is a chance for snow. And rain. While it is only a glancing blow and will not be a significant storm for New Jersey, there could be some light accumulations. It's worth keeping an eye on the forecast throughout the weekend.
It's hard to believe we were talking about record-breaking temperatures just two days ago. Welcome back to "jacket weather," New Jersey.
We are starting out with temperatures in the 40s Friday morning. It is damp and dreary, thanks to some rain overnight. The heaviest rain has exited the Garden State. But we are left with some drizzle and mist, some sprinkles and a few showers.
I think by about 8 or 9 a.m, outright rain will wrap up. And then skies will really brighten this afternoon, becoming partly sunny by dusk.
Meanwhile, temperatures will only reach the upper 40s to around 50 Friday afternoon. Definitely cooler than the past many days. But guess what - that is still above normal for this time of year.
Friday night will be the first frost/freeze for much of NJ since last year. Our forecast puts lows right around the freezing mark, in the lower 30s. (A bit warmer, of course, in cities and near the coast.)
The only potential weather nuisance for Saturday is a chilly northwest breeze. Other than that, we can call it a pleasant, typical January day.
Look for a mix of sun and clouds, with dry weather and dry air. Highs will reach about 40 to 45 degrees.
Saturday night gets even colder. Widespread freeze, with lows in the 20s.
On Sunday, cloud cover will increase. And high temperatures will once again struggle to reach the lower 40s. Not bone-chilling cold, but definitely feeling like winter. (Keep in mind, we are only 10 to 14 days away from the "dead of winter," the average coldest slice of the calendar.)
The daytime hours on Sunday look dry and trouble-free. But Sunday night, a storm system passing to our south will clip New Jersey. Latest model runs have nudged north a little bit, putting us in a slightly more impactful piece of the storm. And, given our newly refreshed cold air, there is a chance for some wintry weather here.
According to the latest guidance, first snowflakes could creep in as early as sunset Sunday, with light to moderate snow or wintry mix into Sunday evening. Temperatures will likely rise slowly during the overnight hours, leading to a transition from wintry to just plain wet. Raindrops should wrap up by mid-morning on Monday.
The timing is concerning, as any overnight storm system has the potential of impacting early morning commuters. I think there's an opportunity for some light snow accumulations here, on the order of an inch or two. But as long as that flip to rain happens on schedule, the Monday morning ride to work/school would be slushy and wet, not icy and snowy.
The best chance of precipitation from this system will be in southern New Jersey. However, I wouldn't rule out snowflakes and/or raindrops anywhere in the state.
Given the recent trend toward slightly higher impacts, I suggest you monitor the forecast over the weekend. As it stands right now, those impacts look very minor. But I could see a scenario in which snow totals approach 2 or 3 inches - and that would be enough to slow you down come Monday.
As showers wrap up in the morning, skies should clear and brighten through Monday afternoon. High temperatures will reach the lower to mid 40s, pretty typical for early January.
The Extended Forecast
Seasonably cool weather seems to be here to stay for a while. Another reinforcing shot of cold air around midweek next week (Wednesday-ish) will push temps down a few degrees.
Long-range models show our next weathermaker arriving late next week, around the Friday time frame. But the exact impacts are still way up in the air. GFS favors a prolonged period of wind and 2 to 4 inches of rain. Meanwhile, the Euro drops a few inches of snow on us. It's very track and temperature dependent. And we're still a few days away from confidently deducing that piece of the forecast. So take any and all info on that late-week storm with a grain of salt for now. If warranted, we'll start taking it more seriously on Monday or Tuesday.
Have a great weekend! Stay warm!
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.