Thursday will feature a mixed bag of weather across the Garden State, with an hour or two of steady rain and 35 mph wind gusts possible.

Wednesday turned into such a beautiful day! It's sad to see the sunshine and mild temperatures end, but I'll remind you that the calendar most definitely says January. The upcoming cooldown isn't going to be one of those "arctic blast" type events, but it will return us to more typical late January weather by the weekend.

An approaching cold front is the culprit for Thursday's active weather. (Of course, the incoming weather won't be nearly as severe and exciting as the nor'easter.)

The cold front will push through New Jersey through Thursday morning. Meanwhile, a shortwave will ride along the frontal boundary, from south to north. So a period of rain is expected for at least part of the state. Central and southern New Jersey will be most likely to see a couple hour's worth of steady rain, with up to a quarter-inch of total rainfall.

As the rain exits the state midday Thursday, a brisk west-northwest wind will start gusting to 30 or 35 mph. That wind will put an end to our daytime warming, with highs reaching the lower to mid 50s around early afternoon. Skies will clear a bit through the afternoon hours, but the wind will certainly make the day blustery.

Thursday night looks breezy and fairly chilly, with lows mostly in the 30s. I can't rule out a snow shower or flurry, but there's no need to worry about any accumulation.

The brisk wind will continue to blow throughout Friday, with gusts still in the 25 to 30 mph neighborhood. High temperatures will remain above normal, in the mid to upper 40s. Skies will be pleasant, with a mix of sun and clouds.

Temperatures will take another step downward on Saturday, with mid 40s at the warmer. (Far North Jersey, meanwhile, may get stuck around 39 or 40 degrees.) Again, no problems overhead with mostly to partly sunny skies. If the breeze stays reasonable, the day won't be half bad.

The slow cooldown continues on Sunday, with highs generally in the lower 40s. That's fairly typical for the final days of January. Skies will progress from sun to clouds on Sunday, and I can't rule out a few showers at some point (probably snow showers).

Even though cooler temperatures are the big story of this forecast, I don't see any storm systems of concern coming down the 'pike. It's true that any passing precipitation chance will most likely manifest itself as snow, rather than rain. But the next "big" chance of snow is at least 7 to 10 days away.

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