NJ Friday weather: Wet start, windy finish, sunshine this weekend
The Bottom Line
No matter what the groundhog says Friday morning, there are 46 days until Spring. And once we get past Friday, the next 7 to 10 days will be fairly uneventful. The sun comes out, and our next rain chance is at least a week away. Having said that, signs are still pointing toward frigid air and winter weather changes recharging by the midpoint of February.
Friday is starting wet for much of the state, although steady rain is exiting as of 6 a.m. One more band of scattered showers will linger over the state through the afternoon. And a chilly breeze will kick up by mid-afternoon.
The clear-out, dry-out, and cooldown arrives Friday evening. While this first weekend of February will be seasonably chilly, we begin a string of sunny days for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Our next substantial rain chance is a week away, at least.
Friday's forecast will play out in approximately four phases.
First, we got soaked overnight. The day's biggest batch of rain is exiting the southern coast, so the threat of steady or heavy rain diminishes going forward.
Next, from mid-morning through mid-afternoon, scattered showers will linger around the state. Yes, with occasional raindrops and thick cloud cover, it will be another damp and dreary day — the last in the streak.
Also, starting around mid-afternoon, a chilly northerly breeze will kick up to 20+ mph. That's our cold front, the arrival of a cooler, drier air mass. Temperatures may start to drop slowly through the afternoon, from highs in the lower-mid 40s. But I want to be clear: This is not an "arctic blast" kind of rapid cooldown and burst of wind.
Finally, Friday night, we will finally clear out and dry out. It will remain breezy. And temperatures will get pretty cold. Most of the state will likely freeze by Saturday morning, with lows in the upper 20s to around 30. If freezing temperatures settle in faster than puddles and wet surfaces can evaporate, there could be some slippery spots out there.
You may see a cloud or two early on Saturday. But then, bright sunshine will win the sky for the rest of the day. (And the rest of the weekend.)
The breeze will lighten up as the day goes on too.
High temperatures on Saturday will end up in the lower 40s. Right on the long-term average highs for early February.
More sunshine. More dry weather. Highs in the mid 40s. That's it.
Even more sunshine. Even more dry weather. Highs in the lower 40s. Notice a pattern here?
The Extended Forecast
Yeah, let's talk about that extended forecast. Ummm, there's still not much to talk about.
Models have been showing a little piece of reinforcing cold air arriving on Tuesday. That will be enough to keep highs in the upper 30s — pretty chilly. And we could see some clouds and flurries around. Nothing big.
Wednesday will bounce back into the 40s with partly sunny skies. And a warmup kicks in late-week, potentially sending temperatures to 50+ degrees by the weekend.
Both the GFS and European forecast models show scattered showers developing along a cold front late next week, around Friday or Saturday. So that is our next chance of substantial precipitation.
Beyond that, we will have to see what happens with cold air and active storm track. I would not trust any specific long-range predictions proclaiming a "big snowstorm" in February. A return to active, wintry weather is a possibility — a good one, in fact — but definitely not a guarantee.
As I said, there are 46 days left of winter. The next 10 are quiet. That only leaves about 5 weeks of real winter storm potential before we spring into Spring.
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