Windy with high fire danger Wednesday, otherwise sunny and mild
As expected, that very strong coastal storm out in the Atlantic Ocean just barely kissed New Jersey overnight. We had some rain showers along the coast, and it got breezy. That's it. Meanwhile, both strong thunderstorms and light snow were reported around North Carolina. The storm was quite impressive to watch on satellite — we're lucky this one decided to stay away!
Skies are already clearing out on this Wednesday morning, and you can look forward to abundant sunshine all day. Furthermore, temperatures will pop back to the above-normal range, into the lower to mid 60s Wednesday afternoon.
The only weather nuisance of the day will be the wind. Given the pressure gradient (difference) between the departing storm system (low pressure) and high pressure to our southwest, regular gusts of 30 to 40 mph are expected.
Not only will you be blown around a bit Wednesday, but the combination of the gusty wind, dry air, and dry fuel (on the ground) also raises alarm bells for high fire danger. A Red Flag Warning has been issued for all 21 counties in New Jersey from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Now keep in mind, a Red Flag Warning does not mean the Pine Barrens are going to spontaneously combust into a massive inferno any minute. It just means that if a fire gets started — from one little spark or discarded cigarette — it is likely to spread and grow out-of-control very quickly.
Winds should calm Wednesday evening. It will be mostly clear, dry, and seasonably cool overnight with low temps dipping into the upper 30s.
Thursday also looks pleasant, although a bit cooler than Wednesday. My forecast puts high temperatures between about 57 and 62 degrees for most of the state (even cooler in far North Jersey). Skies will be partly sunny, and the daytime hours look dry.
Our next storm system will be a slow-moving frontal complex, sliding through the Garden State from late Thursday night through early Saturday morning. That puts Friday squarely into the "wet" category — although I still think the rain will be scattered and periodic, and the day won't be a total washout.
However, because of the raindrops and thick clouds, Friday afternoon will be much cooler. Thermometers will only reach about 50 degrees.
Models are showing the chance for some wintry mix in far northern New Jersey Friday morning. My gut is leaning toward temperatures being too warm for freezing rain and/or snow to really matter. But it is worth mentioning, and worth watching.
Rain showers should end by 8 a.m. Saturday morning at the latest. The rest of Saturday looks great, with partial clearing and temperatures making a run for 70+ degrees.
Sunday will start off fine, with increasing clouds and slightly cooler temps in the 60s. However, the end of the weekend could get a bit iffy.
A large storm system will pass north of New Jersey early next week, posing an extended chance of rain. But this is still a highly uncertain forecast, as the precise track of that low will directly impact both temperatures and rain spread.
For example, the GFS model paints scattered rain from late Sunday afternoon through Tuesday night. A backdoor cold front pushes cooler marine air over most of New Jersey, limiting high temperatures to the 40s and 50s during that time.
On the other hand, the Euro model shows a dry forecast for Sunday and Monday, before one band of rain hits New Jersey early Tuesday. No backdoor front, allowing for much warmer temperatures in the 60s and 70s.
So yes, the jury is still out for next week's forecast — it's still 6+ days away, after all. Possible temperatures literally range from 47 to 74 for Monday-Tuesday. I'm confident a dominant solution will emerge in the next day or two, so you can plan accordingly. Stay tuned!