The Bottom Line

Hey, remember late last week? As recently as Saturday, we had widespread 80s across New Jersey. The warmth came to a crashing end over the weekend. And Monday will now be a full 20 degrees cooler than just 48 hours prior.

The temperature trend for the week ahead looks like an upside-down letter "U". (Or rightside-up omega, if you will.) Cool to start, warming in the middle, then cooler again by the weekend. Frost potential is limited. Rain chances are limited. We're really just looking at some pleasant fall weather - oh yes, sweater weather has returned.

Monday

We face two minor weather nuisances for Monday.

First, the wind. Expect northwesterly gusts occasionally over 20 mph - we call that "breezy".

Second, raindrops. Just like Sunday, we could see a few showers or sprinkles creep into New Jersey from the northwest at some point Monday. It's essentially "lake-effect rain," as the brisk northwest wind picks up moisture from Lakes Erie and Ontario and lifts into the atmosphere. And those showers can survive all the way to New Jersey. (Yes, this mechanism would cause snow squalls if temperatures were 20 degrees colder.)

Otherwise, it will be a cool, but pleasant fall day. The day begins with temperatures mainly in the 40s. (Upper 30s to the northwest, lower 50s along the southern coast.) We'll only top out around 60 degrees Monday afternoon - that is slightly below normal for mid-October. Skies will be bright and sunny to start, with some sporadic fair-weather clouds through the afternoon.

Monday night will probably be a few degrees cooler than the previous night. You'll be reaching for a sweater, vest, or jacket with low temps mainly in the lower-mid 40s. As NW NJ falls into the mid-upper 30s, patchy frost is possible — but that should be limited to only the coldest corner of the state.

Tuesday

No showers. Fewer clouds. And a lighter breeze, blowing straight out of the west (instead of the northwest). That will allow temperatures to reach seasonable levels, with highs in the mid 60s. Another lovely, dry, bright autumn day.

Wednesday

A pocket of warmer air will arrive midweek, pushing thermometers into the 70s on Wednesday. With a few clouds, light winds, and continued dry weather, Wednesday might be our "weather winner of the week".

Thursday & Beyond

Our next storm system will be a weak front, expected to push across New Jersey around Thursday night. It's not a strong frontal boundary - temperatures will only get knocked a little bit.

Thursday's highs will reach the mid 70s, probably with more clouds than sun. The chance of rain showers should hold off until Thursday night. And even then, dry air will severely limit the spread and amount of rainfall.

Friday will descend to 70 degrees. A shower is still possible through the morning, and then we'll still have some cloud cover through the afternoon. But there's still a lot to like about those comfortable dry conditions.

Another strong-ish cold front is showing up in long-range models for next weekend. So we'll probably face another burst of wind and cold air. In fact, that new air mass could be cold enough to deliver our first widespread frost of the season by early next week.

One more note about fall foliage, since so many have asked. Colors are changing a little later than usual, given our recent stretch of warm weather. But everything I've seen and read points to a vivid foliage season. The warm, wet summer kept trees happy and healthy - now they just need the signal to change and drop. North Jersey is just starting to peak now, with those reds/oranges/yellows drifting south through the rest of October.

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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