NJ weather this week: Near-record temps and unsettled skies
The Bottom Line
January? Ha! This is a pretty warm forecast, as temperatures run 15 to 20 degrees above normal for the next few days. However, as temperatures and humidity go up, so does cloud cover and rain chances. "Unsettled weather" is the name of the game.
Unfortunately, unsettled weather is a royal pain in the neck to forecast. While you may not need a jacket over the next few days, you will need an umbrella as a few batches of raindrops visit the Garden State. Just some wet weather, nothing crazy - I'll try to pinpoint the timing, geography, and impacts of these batches of rain.
The inevitable cooldown arrives later this week. It will not be a big, bad arctic blast like the pre-Christmas storm. Just a gradual decline to more seasonable conditions by the weekend.
The day begins with temperatures around 50 degrees across most of New Jersey - already warmer than our normal high temps for early January.
Skies will be mostly cloudy on Tuesday. Some spotty rain showers and fog are possible in the morning. (In fact, the fog looks particularly thick and prolonged along the immediate coast.)
High temperatures are forecast to reach the lower 50s in North Jersey, the upper 50s in Central Jersey, and the lower 60s in South Jersey.
In addition, a batch of steady rain is going to clip New Jersey from late morning through mid-afternoon. Best chance of getting wet will be to the north, above Interstate 78. But I wouldn't rule out some shower activity farther south.
Again, not a real pretty day. But at least it will be mild, and will not be a washout.
Temperatures will generally hold steady into Tuesday night, mainly in the 50s. We could see a few more spotty raindrops around.
Probably the warmest day of the week, seriously putting record high temperatures in jeopardy. I'm calling for lower 60s across most of NJ. But could we see some mid 60s to the south? If thermometers really start to run away, could we approach the 70-degree mark? Is this January, or April?
Once again, while you can probably skip a jacket on Wednesday, you will need the umbrella. One more push of rain is expected from Wednesday early afternoon through early evening. And, given the warmth and humidity in the atmosphere, there could be some embedded thunderstorms involved. (Severe weather - wind, hail, tornado - seems unlikely though.)
Thursday is the beginning of our transition to cooler days. It will be a fairly gentle cooldown this time around. Although any time the weather changes during the day, you need to stay ahead of it.
While Thursday will start mild and unsettled, possibly near 60 degrees, temperatures will slide backwards as a new air mass moves in. I suspect we'll be closer to 50 degrees by sunset Thursday. If all goes well, we will also transition from patchy drizzle early on to breaks of sun late-day.
A light freeze or frost is possible Thursday night, especially in the usual cold corners of the state.
Definitely cooler and more January-ish, although the latest guidance maintains above-normal temperatures for the time begin. (Reminder: Normal highs in early January are 40 to 44 degrees.)
Forecast highs for Friday are in the upper 40s. It will be partly sunny and breezy. Not a bad day, all things considered.
The Extended Forecast
Temperatures will settle in the 40s through the first full weekend of 2023. A weak impulse could drive some light rain and snow into New Jersey on Saturday.
If you're craving serious snow, there is nothing on the horizon. But remember that first classic ingredient for a winter storm is cold air. By the middle of January, we should be firmly embedded in cold air for the duration. So all it will take at that point is a good storm system to produce some accumulations. I realize winter has started off very quietly - but there's still a long way to go until the first day of spring. (79 days, in fact.)
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.