Wild weather week for NJ: Sun to rain to warm to cold to snow
While Monday will be a quiet, seasonably pleasant weather day, the rest of the week will feature a roller coaster of temperatures and weather conditions.
There are some forecasters who have already banged the gavel and declared the untimely death of winter. You know better - it's only early February! And signs are pointing to a generally colder, snowier forecast in the coming weeks... and even in the coming days.
The weekend featured a mixed bag of weather. While Saturday was sunny, it was quite cold. While Sunday was a bit warmer, it was cloudy. For Monday, we'll get the best of both worlds - mostly sunny skies, light winds, dry weather, and high temperatures in the mid to upper 40s.
Then our attention turns to two storm systems that will drive our weather over the next few days.
Clouds will increase Monday evening, leading to a chance for rain by daybreak Tuesday. As usual in the wintertime, we have to carefully monitor temperatures (both at the surface and throughout the atmosphere) to determine precipitation type. I'm fairly confident that most of the state will see only rain overnight. However, the higher elevations of NW NJ will be cooler - a degree or two below the freezing mark - and will therefore have a better chance of experiencing wintry precipitation. In any case, any snow and freezing rain will be brief and geographically limited, with only minor impacts.
The National Weather Service has issued a precautionary Freezing Rain Advisory for Sussex and Warren counties, from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Additional periods of rain are expected to continue on Tuesday. It will not, however, be a complete washout - there will be breaks of dry weather along the way. The latest NAM and GFS models are in surprisingly good agreement about the timing of the rain, putting bands overhead from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m., from Noon to 5 p.m., and from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Wednesday. Meanwhile, a stiff southwest wind will push temperatures warmer during the day, topping out near 50 in North Jersey and near 60 degrees in South Jersey on Thursday afternoon. Given the warmup, don't be surprised to hear a few rumbles of thunder along the way.
Temperatures hold unseasonably warm through Wednesday morning, with lower 60s likely for at least the southern half of New Jersey. That's about 20 degrees above normal for early February!
Of course, that warmth won't last long, as a cold front swings through around midday Wednesday. A cold north wind will force temperatures to fall sharply Wednesday afternoon.
So, as our next storm system arrives early Thursday morning, the forecast will get very complicated. Some models have depicted accumulating snow. (Just to give you a sense of magnitude, raw model output have put snowfall totals anywhere between 0 and 8 inches for the Garden State.) However, temperatures will be a big issue and will (obviously) be the difference between snow and rain (or something in between).
Right now, there are way more questions than answers surrounding this storm system. So we have little to no confidence about how this system will play out for New Jersey. For now, I will caution that Wednesday night-Thursday is worth watching very closely. But be extremely wary of hype and misinformation.