The Garden State is expected to see the warmest days of 2016 so far, with widespread 70s with scattered 80-degree temperatures in the forecast.

Here are your weather headlines for Wednesday, March 9, 2016...

Record Warmth

It has already been a warm week for New Jersey, as thermometers across central and southern New Jersey hit the 70s yesterday. But the warmest is yet to come, as the core of this warm air mass moves over the state Wednesday and Thursday.

GFS model forecast high temperatures for Wednesday, showing widespread 70s across New Jersey. (WeatherBell Analytics)

The key to the extreme warmth will be a brisk southwest wind, sustained up to 20 mph with potential gusts to 30 mph. Such a breeze from the southwest almost always leads to increasing temperatures across the Garden State. The big question? Whether this wind will be strong enough to counteract the sea breeze, which has kept the Jersey Shore much cooler than the rest of the state so far this week. (Ocean temperatures are, after all, still only in the lower 40s.) I think coastal communities will make it to at least the 60s for Wednesday and Thursday.

Here is a breakdown of the latest forecast for New Jersey's three climate reporting sites:

--Wednesday Forecast: 73
--Wednesday Record: 74 (2000)
--Thursday Forecast: 74
--Thursday Record: 74 (2000)

--Wednesday Forecast: 75
--Wednesday Record: 73 (2000)
--Thursday Forecast: 76
--Thursday Record: 76 (2006)

Atlantic City:
--Wednesday Forecast: 74
--Wednesday Record: 78 (2000)
--Thursday Forecast: 76
--Thursday Record: 76 (2006)

Could we hit 80 degrees? Perhaps! The GFS has been persistent with putting a few scattered 80s in inland South Jersey on Thursday. This would be the first time New Jersey has hit the 80 mark since October.

Changes Ahead

Weather changes will be noticeable by Thursday afternoon, as a cold front approaches. North Jersey will probably see thicker clouds and a few showers before sunset on Thursday. As the front slowly sags southward, rain showers will spread through the rest of New Jersey from Thursday night to Friday morning. Models suggest the showers will end by around mid-to-late morning on Friday. Rainfall totals will be light.

I had been holding out hope that the front would stall and allow for another 70-degree day in South Jersey on Friday. However, that outlook is fading, as temperatures look to top out in the 60s at best on Friday. Skies will remain mostly cloudy, even after the rain clears out, and we'll have a brisk wind from the northwest.

The Weekend

While Friday looks a bit wetter and cooler than previously forecast, I'm happy to say the weekend forecast has cleared up a bit. There is a ton of pre-spring and St.Patrick's Day festivities across the Garden State this weekend, and I think the weather will *mostly* cooperate.

An area of high pressure should keep the showers away on Saturday. We'll see partly sunny skies, an occasional breeze, and comfortably mild temperatures around 60 degrees.

Models suggest scattered showers and sprinkles will be possible on Sunday, but I now believe it will be far from a washout. Skies will be mostly cloudy, winds will be light, and high temperatures will be limited to the upper 50s for most of the state. While cooler than the rest of this week, Sunday will still end up about 10 degrees above normal for mid-March.

Monday looks wet, as a storm system delivers a period of steady rain through at least the first half of the day. That will keep most high temperatures in the mid to upper 50s - again, still above normal for this time of year!

By the way, nighttime temperatures should stay above freezing for most of New Jersey over the next week. But don't be fooled - it's not Spring yet!

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.