April has been an unusually dry month so far for the Garden State and, with pollen and fire danger still high, we could really use a drenching rain soon.

Here are your weather headlines for Thursday, April 21, 2016...

Warm, Breezy, Cloudy

New Jersey has been rain-free since the middle of last week. Since then, our weather has been simply gorgeous. Thursday will mostly continue that trend.

The day is starting with sunshine and chilly temperatures - a frost occurred in the traditional cool spots (NW NJ and the Pine Barrens). Clouds will increase through Thursday afternoon, and a southwesterly breeze returns, occasionally gusting over 20 mph. Temperatures will increase too, reaching the lower to mid 70s by Thursday afternoon. As usual, the Jersey Shore will end up a bit cooler, in the mid to upper 60s or so.

A Little Bit of Rain?

We could really use a good, soaking rain. And what do you know... A storm system will approach New Jersey Thursday night and Friday, and looks to bring a period of wet weather. Will it be the good drenching we need to fix the impending drought, fire danger, and pollen problems? Eh, not really.

Showers could arrive sometime Thursday night, especially after midnight. Overnight rain looks fairly unimpressive though, and not everyone in the Garden State will get wet.

The better chance for widespread rain will come Friday and Friday night. With a touch of instability in the atmosphere, there could be a few localized thunderstorms and heavier downpours (especially Friday afternoon and evening). Meanwhile, high temperatures are expected to reach the mid to upper 70s on Friday, with southwesterly winds up to about 20 mph.

For the most part, rainfall totals look meager, at best. Models show most of the Garden State is forecast to receive no more than 0.40" of rain in the bucket. This light rain will certainly help, but April month-to-date precipitation still be well below normal.

Showers may linger through early Saturday morning, maybe as late as 8 a.m.

Sunshine Returns This Weekend

By midday Saturday, skies should clear to sunshine. Behind the aforementioned rain will come cooler air, knocking this weekend's temperatures back. but only a little bit. Saturday will be seasonable and quite pleasant, with forecast highs in the mid 60s.

Sunday looks a few degrees cooler still, in the lower 60s (maybe upper 50s in the coolest spots). We'll enjoy sunshine and light winds to close out the weekend.

As I mentioned in Wednesday's weather blog post, there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the forecast for early next week. A slow-moving or stalling front will bring a prolonged period of showery rain, and some tricky temperatures. At the moment, I'm leaning toward a warm Monday, a wet Tuesday, and a cooler Wednesday in the long-range forecast. However, details remain very up in the air until models get a better handle on the situation.

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