Another Taste of Spring for NJ: Warm and Occasionally Wet
If you're a fan of warmth, you're going to fall in love with this Valentine's Day forecast! Of course, if you're looking for some snow, you might love the upcoming weekend.
Wednesday morning is starting out chilly, with temperatures generally in the lower to mid 30s. Additionally, scattered areas of drizzle have drifted through northern New Jersey this morning. (It's not a total surprise, I just put the overall chance for rain too low to even mention in the forecast.) With temps close to the freezing mark, some of that precipitation may fall as freezing drizzle — in fact, the National Weather Service has posted a quick-fuse Winter Weather Advisory for Warren, Sussex, and western Passaic counties until 8 a.m. (I'd include Morris and Bergen counties in that icy "heads up" as well.) Be on the lookout for icy spots along and north of Interstate 80 through mid-morning.
The rest of Wednesday looks dry and mild. Skies will generally be mostly cloudy for most of the day, with extra breaks of sunshine during the morning hours. High temperatures should reach the upper 40s to lower 50s Wednesday afternoon.
The warm front that delivered this newfound springlike warmth will park itself just north of New Jersey by Wednesday night. As a piece of energy (read: weak storm system) rides along that front, we'll likely see a quick burst of rain pass through the Garden State. Best sense of timeline puts raindrops overhead between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Rainfall totals will end up between a tenth and a quarter of an inch. Overnight temperatures will stay above-freezing, so it's a wet night, not a wintry one.
Before, during, and after the overnight rainfall, dense fog may be a problem as temperatures cool to the dew point (lower to mid 40s).
By daybreak Thursday, the rain should be mostly gone. While I can't rule out an isolated shower at some point Thursday, models do point to a mostly dry day. That is particularly good news given the temperature forecast, pushing thermometers into the lower to mid 60s by Thursday afternoon. That's about 20 degrees above normal for mid-February, and very close to record highs. Positively Spring-y!
Scattered areas of rain return to the forecast from Thursday night through the day Friday. While Friday morning will remain warm — near 60 degrees — a cold front will put an end to the unseasonable warmth by Friday afternoon. A brisk northwesterly wind, gusting over 30 mph, will cause temperatures to drop sharply on Friday, to the upper 40s (give or take) by sunset.
The newly refreshed February chill will spell a cold start to the President's Day Weekend. Despite growing sunshine, high temperatures on Saturday will be held below seasonal normals, between about 35 and 40 degrees. A stiff breeze will add a bite to the cold air, reminding you that it's still very much wintertime!
My last forecast Tuesday morning had a dry, partly sunny, warming forecast for the entire President's Day Weekend. Not anymore.
Both the GFS and Euro models are now picking up on a storm system in the Saturday night-Sunday morning time range (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.) The storm track is favorable for snow. The upper-air temperature forecast favors snow. But surface temperatures are questionable, leading to a complicated forecast highly dependent on the details. (Even though those two models both show frozen precipitation, there is very little consensus regarding those finer details.)
In case you're curious, I've seen snowfall guidance up to about 5 inches for part of New Jersey. However, I am not ready to formally pull the trigger on potential snow accumulation yet. For now, the chance for snow/rain is worth a mention in my long-term forecast. And this complicated situation is certainly worth watching as the weekend draws closer. Stay tuned.