Watch out for icy spots Tuesday morning, before the Garden State finally emerges from the prolonged arctic chill.

With one final burst of wintry mix on Monday, our deep freeze nightmare is over! The southern half of New Jersey climbed above freezing on Monday, and the rest of the state should begin to thaw on Tuesday. At Newark Airport, we hit 14 days in a row (about 350 consecutive hours) of subfreezing temperatures — that's the second-longest streak on record, behind January-February 1961.

Monday evening's freezing rain event has left numerous icy spots across New Jersey. And there are a few dozen school delayed openings as a result. Watch your step and be extra careful driving, especially on untreated side streets, bridges, and elevated overpasses.

Tuesday morning temperatures are hovering close to 20 degrees in North Jersey, while South Jersey thermometers are already just above the freezing mark. Skies will range from partly to sunny, with an occasional breeze. Tuesday afternoon high temperatures should reach about 40 degrees — pretty typical for early January. It's going to feel glorious after our extended stretch of frigidity.

Then, as temperatures once again sink below freezing Tuesday night, we face a refreeze risk. While we'll experience some solid snow and ice melt during the day Tuesday, all that water is prone to freeze again overnight. So once again, we'll be on the lookout for icy spots Wednesday morning.

Another quiet and reasonably pleasant day is on tap for Wednesday. Clouds will be on the increase, with high temps once again in the neighborhood of 40 degrees.

By Thursday, our warming trend kicks into high gear, with 50s in the forecast for central and southern New Jersey (at least). It will be a mostly cloudy day. And I'll call it more comfortable too, as our bone-dry atmosphere transitions to higher humidity.

However, along with the warmth will come some rain. As a storm system arrives just after sunset Thursday evening, we have to add some wet weather to the forecast.

Periods of rain are expected throughout Friday, and could be heavy at times, Total rainfall looks to end up between a half-inch and an inch. Even though it will be a soaker, Friday should be the warmest day of the week — high temperatures may touch 60 degrees!

And that'll do it for our January thaw! Showers wrap up early Saturday, possibly with some snow or wintry mix at the tail end. Then, the door to the arctic opens once again. Temperatures will begin to tumble on a brisk northwesterly wind throughout Saturday. By Sunday and Monday, high temperatures will be stuck below freezing. Again.

I do have one nagging hesitation about Friday's storm system. If it wiggles a bit further to the east, we might end up on the cold side of the storm. (Low pressure systems rotate counter-clockwise, so the left/west side of the storm features northerly winds and therefore colder temperatures.) If the return of cold air is accelerated, not only would we not hit 60 degrees on Friday, but we might have a sudden blast of wintry weather to contend with. No models are currently suggesting this colder, snowier solution — just something to keep in mind as the week presses forward.

Long-range models suggest our next cold snap won't be as long-lived as the last one. Through the second half of January, I see us alternating between "arctic chill" and "fairly mild" weather every few days. Not too bad for January. And there are no major winter storms on the horizon.

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