The Bottom Line

As I mentioned in my blog and on-air, Tuesday was a very difficult weather forecast day. There was a lot going on. From a 20-degree north-south temperature spread, to a prominent sea breeze, to early showers, to late (fizzling) thunderstorms. Wednesday offers similar challenges, as we stare down one more round of unsettled, wet, and even stormy weather.

Following a cold frontal passage, our air cools down and dries out. In fact, because of regular intrusions of polar and marine air, I don’t see a return to above-normal temperatures until mid-month.

The Mother’s Day Weekend looks cool, and approximately half-crummy with some rain chances in the forecast.

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Wednesday

Your Cinco de Mayo is starting off tranquilo (quiet). We have some fog and light fog around. I’ve seen visibility numbers as low as a quarter-mile - so you may have to slow down in spots early Wednesday morning as you drive through a cloud.

Morning temperatures in the 50s/60s will only make it to about 60 (north) to 70 (south) degrees Wednesday afternoon. For non-coastal areas, it will be noticeably cooler than Tuesday. (Sorry, the 80s are gone, for now!)

Beyond the AM commute, we’re in for a somewhat bumpy ride, as a cold front approaches from the west. That means most New Jerseyans will get wet at some point.

The latest timeline for Wednesday’s rain has shifted a few hours later. Showers look to push across the Delaware River around 10 or 11 a.m., persisting through early afternoon. And then one more “grand finale” line of thunderstorms is expected sometime in the afternoon too. They’ll be quick, but could pack some heavy rain.

Gusty winds and small hail could become a concern - especially if sunshine warms the atmosphere more than expected. The best chance for a strong or severe storm cell would be in (warmer) South Jersey.

After 5 or 6 p.m., the rain threat will be over, and we’ll start to taste the “whoosh” of cooler air. A brisk northwest breeze, up to about 20 mph, will kick up Wednesday evening. Skies will clear as the air not only cools down, but also dries out overnight.

Thursday

By Thursday morning, we should see widespread 40s across New Jersey, fully entrenched in our new polar (not arctic) air mass. I still think we avoid any widespread frost/freeze concerns, although some 30s are possible in NW NJ. It will definitely be a “jacket weather” kind of chill.

Thursday will look nice, with early sunshine then some afternoon clouds. But high temperatures will only make it into the lower-mid 60s. Not terrible, especially since it looks like a dry day. It’s just going to feel more like an early April day than early May. 5+ degrees below seasonal normals.

Friday

The forecast has improved somewhat, although we’ll have to watch the development of our next (off-shore) storm system. Skies will average partly sunny. Temperatures will run from 40s in the morning to lower 60s in the afternoon. The daytime hours are trending dry.

However, a chance of rain will develop starting Friday evening. Best chance of raindrops will be along the Jersey Shore.

The Weekend & Beyond

In a word, your Mother’s Day Weekend will be cool. And about half-crummy, bookended by rain.

Saturday will start with showers wrapping up, done by Noon. Then we’ll see dry weather and breaks of sun through the afternoon. However, with ocean air influencing just about the entire state (thanks to an easterly wind), temperatures may only reach the upper 50s at best.

According to the latest forecast data, Sunday will start OK, with mostly cloudy skies and highs back in the lower 60s. However, our next chance of rain will arrive through the afternoon. And that rainfall looks to be steady, if not heavy, through Sunday evening.

Early next week looks fine, as the sun comes out and highs hover in the 60s. But I think it’s appropriate to call this “sustained” cool weather. The next time we see 70 degrees in New Jersey? Approximately May 15th.

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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