New Jersey has enjoyed two 50+ degree days in a row so far this week, and today will make three. However, rain is also expected starting this afternoon.

Here are your weather headlines for Tuesday, March 10, 2015...

Rain Today

I know you’re loving the warmer temperatures right now, but we have to take a pause from the beautiful weather to track some rain tonight. The first raindrops look to fall this afternoon, and periods of rain will continue through this evening and the overnight hours. We’ll taper off to showers by Wednesday morning, and rain should be done by about 10 a.m. Wednesday at the latest.

I don’t expect any really heavy rain, and the flooding threat is reduced from what I discussed yesterday. Total rainfall will likely end up in the 0.50” to 1.00” range statewide. The biggest impact will be a soggy and damp evening commute tonight, and the potential development of fog overnight. Since low temperatures tonight will only drop to the 37° to 45° range, anything that falls from the sky will stay liquid. Non-frozen. Rain.

Staying Mild

Were you cruising down the highway with the windows rolled down yesterday? Were you bold enough to venture outside without a jacket, or even wearing a short-sleeved shirt? (I am admittedly guilty of all of the above!) We’ve enjoyed two days of 50+ degree temperatures so far this week, and it looks like we have two more on the way. (Hooray!)

Despite the rain this afternoon and evening, temperatures will still make it into the 50s across most of the state (although I expect the ultimate numbers to be a hair cooler than Monday.) And, as sunshine returns by Wednesday afternoon, I think we’ll see the warmest day of the week, with widespread 60+ degree temperatures.

Honestly, the exact temperature numbers in this forecast are a little fuzzy, especially beyond Wednesday. Not a single model or forecaster came close to the 60° high temperatures in South Jersey on Monday. So I don’t know how much I can trust the models or even my own instinct for the rest of the week. However, I always recommend you try to look beyond the forecast numbers and concentrate on the temperature trend. In terms of the trend, I feel pretty good about my 5-Day Forecast. Today and tomorrow will be mild, in the 50s and 60s. Thursday and Friday will be a bit cooler, but still seasonable in the upper 40s or so. As rain falls on Saturday, we’ll hold steady around 50°, and then Sunday and Monday will continue to be warm.

As for the long-term forecast, I do see another cold spell coming next week... Before you grab the pitchforks, keep in mind that it’s now going to be very difficult for the atmosphere to sustain brutally cold temperatures (due to sun angle, the warming ground and water, and melting snow). So any “arctic blast” will hopefully be marginal in strength, and likely short lived.

Next Rain-maker this Weekend

Confidence is growing that New Jersey is going to see a moderate to heavy rain event from Friday night through Sunday morning. Right now, I would peg the first raindrops to fall in the state around 9 p.m. Friday evening. Showers should wrap up sometime Saturday night (after sunset). Forecast rainfall totals are pretty healthy for this system; I’m particularly concerned about periods of heavy rain from Saturday morning through lunchtime (say 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Nothing unmanageable here, especially considering the weather that this brutal winter threw at us. But if you have outdoor plans for Saturday, you might want to start thinking about alternate plans, as I’m considering whether to use the word “washout” here.

The other big question to consider is whether there could be periods of wintry weather with this weekend's system. Despite the mild temperatures that are the headline this week, the answer has to be a limited yes. Any wintry mix would be limited to the colder overnight hours from Friday night to Saturday morning, so you’ll probably sleep right through it. And our precipitation will undoubtedly turn to all rain by Saturday midday, so any frozen stuff that does stick to the ground will be quickly washed away. Bottom line: the problem will be heavy rain, not frozen precipitation.