NJ weather: Chilly, quiet, and dry for pre-Thanksgiving travel
The Bottom Line
Less than 60 hours to go until turkey time! And although our weather forecast is headlined by cold temperatures, the weather will cooperate with your travel.
There is one mild day coming up — Thanksgiving Thursday. There is one chance of rain in the forecast — early Black Friday morning. And you'd be wise to keep the heaviest jacket handy, with below-normal temperatures generally gripping New Jersey through at least the rest of November.
Cold, dry air has taken residence in New Jersey. We are starting the day with only barrier islands in Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May counties above the freezing mark. High temperatures will only reach the lower 40s. This kind of chill would be totally typical around the Winter Solstice or Valentine's Day. But here in the run-up to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, it's upwards of 10 degrees below normal.
In addition, a stiff breeze will keep the air moving around to remind you it's cold. Blowing out of the northwest at 20+ mph. That will keep the wind chill (the "feels like" temperature) only in the 30s at best all day Tuesday.
We'll see sun with passing clouds, along with dry air and dry weather. Some lake-effect snow showers will try to creep into NW NJ from Lake Ontario and Upstate NY — but I suspect they'll mainly fail.
Tuesday night will be the coldest night of the season so far, with a freeze for all. Even though coastal communities that have thus far been insulated by the ocean and bays will probably drop to 32 or less. Farther inland, mid to upper 20s will be a hard freeze — anything liquid will be frozen by Wednesday morning.
Still on the cool side. But also still quiet.
Sunny skies, dry weather, mid 40s.
Thursday (Thanksgiving Day)
I have no hesitation in calling the holiday our nicest, warmest day of the week. Expect a pleasant mix of sun and clouds, with highs in the seasonable mid 50s.
Winds will be light, so there won't be any problems with incoming/outgoing flights. Nor any weather issues with either the NYC or Philly parades.
Friday (Black Friday)
Our next storm system will be a cold front, arriving early Friday morning. I believe those raindrops will hold off late enough to not affect your Thanksgiving Day plans. But if you have plans to hit the stores early Black Friday, you'll want an umbrella.
Rainfall will be brief, and generally light. Maybe three hours and a quarter-inch.
By Friday afternoon, skies will start to clear. And yet another cold, dry air mass will start working into the Garden State. So it will become blustery, as temperatures tumble from a high in the mid 40s.
The Extended Forecast
The final weekend of November will feature our coldest days since March. Highs will only reach about 40 degrees for both Saturday and Sunday. At least skies will be bright and sunny.
Long-range models hint at a weak wave passing through NJ early next week, around Sunday night into Monday. Given the chilly temperatures, that could ultimately spit out some snow showers. But at the moment, I don't see any serious weather issues with the post-Thanksgiving "going home" forecast.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.