Enough of this ‘taste of winter’ nonsense! When’s the warmup?
Our latest forecast contains both freezing rain and 70 degree temperatures.
As expected, Wednesday's weather got progressively worse (and wintry) as a gusty northwesterly wind delivered cold air to New Jersey. Wind gusts over 40 mph were observed across much of New Jersey, as temperatures tumbled through the 30s into the 20s by Wednesday night.
Thermometers have bottomed out in the teens and lower 20s Thursday morning. That's cold! Especially for late March! (Normal lows for this time of year are in the mid 30s.) Luckily, winds have calmed significantly in the meantime, only gusting to about 20 mph throughout the day.
New Jersey will stay on the cool side of the world through Thursday afternoon, despite bright sunshine. Forecast high temperatures are in the lower 40s. Even though that's about 10 degrees below seasonal norms, the day will be much more comfortable than Wednesday thanks to lighter winds.
Thursday night will be chilly, with temperatures dipping into the mid to upper 20s. Otherwise, it will be quiet, with skies progressing from mostly to clear to partly cloudy.
Friday's forecast gets a bit complicated, as a warm front lifts through New Jersey. Yes, that means it's going to get warmer! But a warm front is notorious for providing light, showery precipitation too.
That precipitation is expected to fall from Friday morning to midday, particularly across central and northern New Jersey. Depending on the exact timing and temperature, we could have a freezing rain situation on our hands. Remember, freezing rain occurs when precipitation falls as rain until the bottommost few inches of the atmosphere when raindrops freeze on contact with a subfreezing surface. Just a light glaze of freezing rain is enough to cause a very slippery scene. I can't quite pinpoint whether it will be "plain rain" or "freezing rain" on Friday morning — just be vigilant and careful.
Otherwise, Friday will probably feature more clouds than sun and a stiff southwesterly breeze. We begin a warmup, as temperatures return to more seasonable levels, near 50 degrees.
Hands down, Saturday will be the warmest day of the week. Widespread highs in the mid to upper 60s are likely, and South Jersey will make a run for 70 degrees. The day's weather won't be perfect though — skies will be mostly cloudy statewide, and there could be some annoyingly persistent showers in North Jersey.
By Sunday, our forecast gets muddy (both literally and figuratively). I'm seeing periods of rain from Sunday through Monday, starting as showers and potentially progressing to steadier rain by Sunday night. Meanwhile, as winds blow become easterly, we'll see grayer and cooler conditions overall, especially along the coast. Highs on Sunday will probably range from the upper 40s in North Jersey and along the Jersey Shore, to the mid to upper 50s for inland South Jersey. (Although that temperature forecast is pretty low confidence at this time.)
Models have been incessantly flip-flopping regarding temperatures and weather conditions for early next week, so I don't want to pretend that I confidently know what's going to happen. My latest forecast continues rain chances for much of Monday, and models push high temperatures back into the 60s (although previous forecasts called for 40s and 50s due to a continued on-shore flow). Tuesday looks a bit cooler, in the 50s, with breaks of sun. Then, following a round of early morning showers, Wednesday will become sunny and breeze, with seasonable highs in the upper 50s to near 60. (Again, this medium-range forecast isn't set in stone, but that's how it's shaping up for now.)
So when will we warm up semi-permanently? Well, next week will be a start, with both daily high and low temperatures near normal. I could see one more cold snap coming around the final days of March. But sustained warmth looks to be a theme for early to mid April. While I wouldn't rule out bouts of chilly temperatures and a few snowflakes, conditions should become much more springlike on a regular basis.