Warm temperatures and plenty of atmospheric moisture will fuel periods of heavy rain and possibly some thunderstorms today and tonight.

Here are your weather headlines for Friday, April 3, 2015...

Wet Friday

As soon as you step out the front door this morning, you’ll notice the weather is a bit different than it has been for many days, weeks, and months. In fact, preliminary numbers show this is the warmest morning since mid-October! You can thank an abundance of atmospheric moisture and a sustaining breeze for the warmth.

A cold front is approaching, and looks to stall just northwest of New Jersey. As bursts of atmospheric energy crawl along that front today and tonight, we’ll see periods of rain across New Jersey. There will be some breaks in the raindrop action, so you will be able to enjoy the 60s warmth to some extent. However, some of that rain could get pretty heavy, and I’m still thinking there’s a decent chance of some embedded thunderstorms with gusty winds.

The best chance for the heaviest rain looks to be in South Jersey (below I-195) - that’s where the models show the deepest pool of precipitable water to set up today. The best chance for the thunderstorms and gusty winds will be further south, around Gloucester and Salem counties - that’s where the models show the highest levels of instability or energy today. But don't let your guard down, no matter where you live in New Jersey... everyone will be prone to seeing that heavy rain and thunderstorm activity.

Total rainfall will average about an inch today and tonight. That’s really not a lot, although locations that stay under heavier downpours for extended periods of time will see higher totals. The rain will taper off to showers overnight tonight, and should end completely around daybreak Saturday.

Holiday Weekend Forecast

The end of the rain will coincide with the eventual passage of that aforementioned cold front. So as the showers exit Saturday morning, we'll clear away to sunshine rather quickly. However, the air mass behind the front is much cooler, so temperatures will fall from the 50s Saturday morning through the 40s by Saturday afternoon. That cool down will also come with some brisk northwest winds - sustained at 15 to 25 mph, with regular gusts over 35 mph.

As skies clear completely and as those winds die down Saturday night, we'll get pretty chilly. Most of the state will see a light freeze by early Sunday morning with low temperatures between about 26° and 32°. By the afternoon on Easter Sunday, however, our weather should recover nicely. Partly sunny skies, breezy conditions, and high temperatures in the mid to upper 50s will likely make Sunday the best day of this holiday weekend.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

Monday should be a decent spring day. Despite increasing clouds, we'll see lighter winds and above-normal temperatures around the lower 60s.

Beyond Monday, the forecast gets pretty muddled, and uncertainty is quite high regarding both temperatures and precipitation. We’re currently thinking that temperatures will hover around the 60-degree mark for Tuesday through Thursday next week... although some model outliers show a big cool down into the 40s during that time period. Meanwhile, a stormy setup ensues, that could keep rain chances on top of New Jersey from Tuesday through Saturday morning. Again, model agreement for next week is poor, and uncertainty is high... so frankly, anyone who claims to know exactly what our weather is going to do next week is lying or exaggerating.

Stay dry and stay safe in the rain and thunderstorms today, and have a great weekend!