What wonderful weather for Columbus Day! You just can't beat sunshine and 70s at any time of the year. We've got another beautiful day on deck for Tuesday, before a pair of storm systems deliver our next dose of rain and wind.

We're waking up to a chill in the air on this Tuesday morning, with temperatures ranging from the 30s (Sussex County, far North Jersey) to the 40s (most of inland, non-urban NJ) to the lower 50s (cities and coast). Your Tuesday will be another sunny, dry day with a light breeze.

A weak cold front passed through overnight — it was completely dry, and only kicked up wind speeds for a couple of hours. That means we'll miss out on the 70s, as Tuesday afternoon temps end up 5 to 10 degrees cooler than on Monday. Look for highs in the mid 60s, pretty close to normal for the midpoint of October.

Clouds and humidity will increase Tuesday night (especially after Midnight). That will prevent thermometers from dipping too far into the "chilly zone". Most overnight lows will reach the lower to mid 50s, with some in the usual cool spots (NW NJ and the Pine Barrens).

Wednesday will start off dry, cloudy, and breezy. (Southeasterly wind gusts on Wednesday may occasionally pop above 30 mph.) Then things turn wet, even stormy, for the rest of the day.

NAM model forecast for Wednesday evening, showing some torrential rain driving through New Jersey. (College of DuPage Meteorology)
NAM model forecast for Wednesday evening, showing some torrential rain driving through New Jersey. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

A strong coastal storm system (call it a nor'easter if you want) will slide along a cold front to produce an extended period of soaking rain. Here is how the timeline will play out:
—First raindrops enter SW NJ around midday Wednesday (Noon).
—Rain will spread throughout the enter state by mid-afternoon Wednesday (3 p.m.).
—Heavy rain pushes in Wednesday late afternoon (5 p.m.) into Wednesday evening. Lightning and thunder are possible. Poor visibility and road conditions could impact the evening commute.
—The steadiest rain wraps up Wednesday late evening (10 p.m.)
—Final raindrops expected early Thursday morning (6 a.m.)

Model guidance shows a resounding consensus toward 1 to 2 inches for most of the state, with upwards of 3 inches possible locally. That's a lot of rain to fall in less than 24 hours!

While it will be windy, the lack of a prominent on-shore flow (those classic east-northeast winds) will mean significant coastal flooding is not expected this time around. (There may be some water rise on the gusty southeasterly wind Wednesday, but I'm not seeing any tidal forecasts at or above flood stage.)

Of course, the heavy rain could cause flash flooding issues in low-lying or poor drainage areas.

I think it's important to note that New Jersey will not face the brunt of this storm system. The heaviest rain and the strongest wind will be found to our east — New England is going to get smacked by this strong coastal storm pretty hard.

As we dry out Thursday, skies will slowly clear out. We will have to contend with a gusty westerly wind though, as high as 40 mph. That's going to make for a blustery day, especially as high temps only reach the upper 50s to around 60 degrees.

Friday looks calmer, although still on the cool side. I'll call it partly sunny and breezy, with highs close to the 60-degree mark.

I'm loving what I'm seeing for the weekend, with sunny and dry weather a good bet for both days. Seasonable mid 60s for Saturday. Closer to 70 degrees for Sunday. Nice!

Next storm system down the line is currently modeled to arrive late Monday through Tuesday. While next week's rainfall doesn't look as torrential as Wednesday's storm, we could still see some healthy rainfall totals. All good news for the 81+ percent of New Jersey still classified as abnormally dry.

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.

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