While a storm system on Thursday will bring only an inch or two of snow for New Jersey, it will also open the door to some really cold temperatures by this weekend.

For the rest of the week into this weekend, New Jersey will alternate daily between high pressure (quiet, cold weather) and low pressure (chances of snow). The potential for historic, record-breaking cold is in the forecast too. Let’s break down this forecast day by day...

Wednesday

As high pressure slides east, we’ll enjoy a quiet yet cool day. Despite the breaks of sunshine among the clouds, high temperatures will still be about 10 degrees below normal, in the lower 30s.

Thursday

All week, we’ve been tracking a storm for Thursday, and New Jersey’s snow chances really look to be fizzling at this point. The storm will be moisture starved, and redevelopment really won’t happen until it is well east of New Jersey. (So, the highest snow totals will yet again be in New England.) Still, I can see the chance for an inch or two of new snow for at least part of New Jersey... the further north and east you are, the better chance you have of seeing that light accumulation. South Jersey could see nothing at all, or maybe a few rain showers. Timing for the snow/rain would be about 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday

The front that pushes through following Thursday’s storm system will open the door to some incredibly cold arctic air that will “whoosh” in Friday morning. The combination of cold and wind (gusting to 30 mph) will force wind chills well below zero for Friday morning. And with highs only ranging from 14° to 21° on Friday, afternoon wind chills won’t be much better, only in the single digits.

Saturday

As high pressure briefly builds in again for Saturday, we’ll see another quiet daytime. We’ll see sun and clouds in the sky, but temperatures will still be on the cold side, with most highs in the 20s across the state.

By Saturday night, another clipper system looks to bring us another shot at accumulating snow. There remains a big question about this storm regarding how much the low pressure deepens (strengthens) as it approaches the Atlantic coast. Right now, I would say this will bring only an inch or two of fresh snow, but that questionable coastal enhancement could up those totals a bit. Not a major storm, but still one to watch.

Sunday

No exaggeration or hype here... Sunday-Monday could be the coldest couple of days New Jersey has seen in about 20 years.

The National Weather Service pointed out in their forecast discussion early this morning that the Philadelphia area might see single-digit low temperatures on Monday morning. That hasn’t happened since 1996.

I’m looking at Sunday’s high temperatures ending up in the 11° to 18° range statewide. If the high temperature at Newark Airport stays at or below 14° (my current forecast), it would be the coldest day since February 16, 2003. If the temperature at EWR fails to rise above 13°, it would be the coldest day since January 19, 1994.

This is serious cold. Temperatures in the northern half of the state will likely stay below 20° for over 48 hours from Saturday night to Tuesday morning. If you venture outdoors and are unprepared during this time, especially at night when the wind chill is well below zero, hypothermia and frostbite will be serious concerns.

No warmup in sight, unfortunately. But here’s good news... only 130 days until the first day of summer!