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Wild temperature swings for NJ: Warm, warmer, cool, cold

Enjoy the warmth while it lasts. Plus, another night of steady rain and the potential for some accumulating snow appear in the forecast for the Garden State.

It’s already been a busy weather day across New Jersey, as a band of steady rain (and some freezing rain) pushed across the state through the early morning hours. Rainfall totals peaked at about a quarter-inch. There might still be some icy or slushy spots in northern New Jersey, so please be vigilant when walking and driving.

The big question mark in Wednesday’s forecast is how long any fog and thick cloud cover will persist. I’m optimistically erring toward the GFS model solution, clearing skies by around 11 a.m. Peeks of sunshine would allow high temperatures to climb into the 50s – potentially our warmest day in a full week.

If, however, visibility remains low and clouds hang overhead through Wednesday afternoon (as per the NAM model), temperatures will be stuck in the 40s. Still above normal for mid-January, but shy of the warmup we’ve been craving.

Another warm front is slated to lift through New Jersey from Wednesday evening through early Thursday morning. And so, another round of steady rain is expected to cross from southwest to northeast. The overnight looks wet, not wintry, with low temperatures only falling into the lower 40s – well above freezing.

Thursday will be pinnacle of this mid-January thaw, as high temperatures bounce into the lower 60s for South Jersey. That’s about 20 degrees above normal, and close to record highs. The complication on Thursday will be the chance for lingering showers and clouds, especially in North Jersey.

And, of course, the big warmup is only temporary. Our next cold front will push through the state early Friday, causing temperatures to take another tumble. I believe the frontal passage will be dry, so we’ll keep a partly sunny forecast for Friday. Thermometers will fall from the 50s Friday morning to the 40s by Friday afternoon and into the 30s by Friday evening.

So it’s back to the cold side of the world for the weekend, with highs only in the lower 30s on Saturday. Sunday will be closer to 40 degrees.

We’re still watching for a potentially stormy setup over the weekend too. The latest forecast suggests two shots of snow/wintry mix: one Saturday morning and another Saturday evening. The bullseye seems to be setting up over the southern half of New Jersey, but impacts appear minor for now. Most present models are pegging snow totals in the 1 to 3 inch range over the course of the weekend.

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.

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