The Calendar Says February, But the Thermometer Isn’t Listening
High temperatures will peak in the 60s for at least part of the Garden State over the next 4 days, before more active weather and changes arrive this weekend.
Nothing but warmth over the next 4 days! There is no doubt (and no surprise) this will rank among New Jersey's warmest February months on record. It is also notable that as of Tuesday, we have fallen below normal season-to-date snowfall at Newark. (Atlantic City is still way below normal.) That's a trend that will continue until (unless) we get another snowstorm - which would be over a week away, at the earliest.
Wednesday morning is starting with clouds streaming overhead, and there have been a few showers and sprinkles around through the early morning hours too. The HRRR and NAM models show some convective showers firing up through mid-morning, so I'm going to (hesitantly) keep raindrops in the forecast just in case. Meanwhile, thermometers are starting off in the upper 30s to lower 40s - still jacket weather for sure, but not really February-esque.
And Wednesday afternoon will feel April-like again. As long as a little bit of sunshine breaks through the cloud cover, temperatures will cook into the upper 50s to lower 60s.
Skies will stay partly cloudy for Wednesday night, and it's really not going to be that cool. Forecast low temperatures range from about 40 degrees in North Jersey to 47 degrees along the south coast. That's warmer than our normal high temperature for late February!
The warming trend continues, and peaks, on Thursday. Amidst pleasant periods of sun and clouds, high temperatures will climb into the mid to upper 60s. Just like the Presidents Day Weekend, I would not rule out a few 70s popping up in South Jersey Thursday afternoon.
A weak cold front will push across New Jersey late Thursday night. This front looks to completely fall apart as it enters the Garden State, so we won't notice much impact. The NAM is still promoting a shower chance sometime between about 7 p.m. Thursday and 5 a.m. Friday. The GFS has now picked up on this "blip" of rainfall too, so I guess it's worth mentioning in the forecast. Again, don't expect much here.
The 60s will continue on Friday. I'm seeing mixed messages regarding cloud cover. Given southeasterly winds and rising humidity, I'm leaning toward a mostly cloudy forecast. Having said that, I'm sure we'll still get at least a few breaks of sun to close out the workweek.
Changes begin this weekend. While Saturday will stay warm, with highs in the 60s, it will be a cloudy and windy day. Scattered showers are possible (but not a sure bet) in the morning. And, ahead of a strong cold front, a line of heavier rain and even thunderstorms will be possible on Saturday as well.
The latest model data suggests the timing of these storms have pushed later than previously forecast, now in the 4 p.m. to Midnight time frame. (I'm watching this forecast very carefully, since this Saturday is the Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights!)
Following Saturday evening's quick burst of rain, a brisk northwest wind will carry in colder air. Sunday won't be too bad, just a bit blustery with wind gusts over 25 mph. High temperatures will be more seasonable and more reasonable, somewhere between 45 and 50 degrees for most of the state on Sunday afternoon.
Temperatures should stay just above normal to close out February and begin March next week. I've been watching another blast of cold air arriving by the first weekend of March. If that cooldown happens, the chance for a significant snowstorm in March stays alive. If it doesn't, we might be ready to declare an early spring, after all.