The Bottom Line

With a headline like that, I know what you want to read about — just skip to The Extended Forecast at the bottom of this post for the early look at Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

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For now, we're bundling up against unseasonably cold temperatures. It's going to look and free like the middle of winter (especially with a foot of snow on the ground in North Jersey). A slow warmup will carry us through the weekend. And then a weak disturbance could bring us some rain/snow showers in the Sunday-Monday time frame.

Friday

Watch your step! Anything that melted on Thursday — any puddles or wet surfaces — has definitely frozen to solid ice on this Friday morning. Temperatures across the Garden State have ranged from 8 to 28 degrees. Brrr!

Sunshine and light winds will make the day more bearable. But high temps will only reach the mid 30s — that is almost 10 degrees below normal for mid-December.

I suspect Friday night will be one of the coldest nights of the season so far. Lows across New Jersey will average 20 degrees, with mainly clear skies, calm winds, and very dry air.

Saturday

Not bad, just a touch wintry. It will be partly sunny, dry, and calm. High temperatures will climb into the upper 30s. The vicinity around Sussex County has been stuck below-freezing since Monday. Hopefully even you will pop above 32 degrees for a few hours on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday

A weak disturbance riding along a weak front will drive in some clouds. And maybe some rain and snow showers — different models paint a different spreads of precipitation, ranging from isolated to scattered. I don't think we'll see anything too significant here. Maybe a fresh dusting or coating of snow in North Jersey if a snow shower really gets going.

High temperatures will jump to around 40 to 45 degrees, as we return to mid-December normal.

Monday

In case you're wondering, the Winter Solstice arrives Monday morning at 5:02 a.m. This time of year, we're only getting 9 hours, 15 minutes of daylight. But the darkest days are almost behind us, as daylight gets longer and longer through the Summer Solstice. (Hooray for optimism!)

Monday's forecast will be very similar to Sunday's. Mostly cloudy, with an isolated (rain) shower chance. Highs again will reach the seasonable lower 40s.

The Extended Forecast

Tuesday and Wednesday will be quiet, with good sunshine and 40s.

And then along comes our next substantial storm system, which numerous models show arriving in New Jersey on Thursday — Christmas Eve. (Oh boy!) Please don't get your hopes up for a White Christmas just yet. Especially since any precipitation here will absolutely 100% start as rain on Christmas Eve, with high temperatures popping to near 60. (The Euro model shows some pretty heavy rain over NJ, in fact.)

However, as temperatures tumble Thursday night, there is indeed a legit chance of flipping to snowflakes, either Christmas Eve night or Christmas Day. (Wow!) Some long-range models even paint an inch or two of accumulation in New Jersey. (Double wow!) For now, it does not look like a travel-inhibiting winter storm. Just pretty, light, conversational stuff. (Triple wow!)

By the way, it's totally possible that the snow on the ground right now will still be around on Christmas too. That would certainly contribute to a white and bright holiday.

Historically, New Jersey experiences a White Christmas (1 inch of snow on the ground on either Eve or Day) 1 out of 6 years. The last time was 2012 or 2013, depending on which corner of the state you're in. Actually, 6 of the last 7 Christmases have been wet.

Fingers crossed. Pajamas inside-out. Make a wish to Santa Claus. We'll keep you posted as this critical holiday forecast continues to develop!

Until then, enjoy the final weekend of fall and the final shopping weekend before Christmas.

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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