NJ weather: Humidity and clouds return, 1-2″ of rain later this week
The Bottom Line
After several days of gorgeous, sunny, crisp days, we have one big change to the forecast for Tuesday. Our arch-nemesis: Humidity. That will drive an increase in cloud cover. It will feel a bit stickier by the afternoon. And there could be some patchy drizzle around.
The increase in atmospheric moisture will also set the stage for our next storm system, a strong cold front set to arrive on Thursday. A period of steady to heavy rain is looking likely. Even though the exact timing is still fuzzy, most of New Jersey could get soaked by over an inch of rainfall.
We'll flip back to dry, comfortable weather just in time for the first weekend of fall.
I wish we could just "copy and paste" the weather from Sunday and Monday into every day of the year. Dry air is a real treat in the summertime. (And yes, as of this writing, it's still summer for another 34 hours!)
Alas, that southeasterly breeze has been pumping moisture back into our atmosphere. We call that humidity. As dew points climb from the 50s into the 60s Tuesday, the air will get a bit thicker and stickier through the afternoon. Clouds will thicken too, as skies progress from partly to mostly cloudy.
At least temperatures will still be pleasant and seasonable, topping out in the mid 70s or so.
It will be a mainly quiet and generally pleasant day. However, guidance does show some hints that spotty drizzle may develop at some point Tuesday afternoon, especially along the eastern edge of New Jersey. (That's the Shore and NE NJ.)
In addition, a moderate risk of rip currents and rough surf continues along the Jersey Shore. That's a direct impact of the on-shore southeasterly wind. We'll probably see yellow flags through the rest of the week too, as swell from Tropical Storm Peter laps up against the coastline.
Clouds, fog, and humidity will prevent temperatures from getting too chilly Tuesday night. Low temperatures will only dip into the mid to upper 60s across the state.
As the cold front crawls into Pennsylvania, we could see a few showers lick New Jersey (especially the western edge) on Wednesday. Not a washout, and not everyone will see rain — in fact, I think we can call it a "mainly dry" day.
Otherwise, it's going to be a mostly cloudy, breezy, and humid day. Fairly warm, as highs push toward 80 degrees.
Soaking rain will push through New Jersey at some point on Thursday. It's just a matter of when.
Models are in lockstep showing a period of widespread steady to heavy rain on Thursday. But those model forecasts have been flip-flopping in terms of what time the rainfall will peak. At the moment, the GFS stands alone in a "Thursday morning to midday" solution. The NAM and Euro models are later, putting the heaviest rain in the "Thursday afternoon to early evening" timeframe. That second (and, dare I say, more likely) solution is a bit more precarious, as it coincides with Thursday evening's rush hour.
Forecast rainfall totals are mainly between 1 and 2 inches. A little less right along the coast, perhaps. And I could see some spots overperform that 2 inch mark if it really pours, especially to the northwest.
That magnitude of rainfall would not be enough to cause widespread flash flooding or river flooding. However, it is plenty to cause ponding and big puddles and low visibility and traction issues.
There is a risk for some embedded thunderstorms and severe weather on Thursday too. That's going to be directly tied to the timing of the heaviest rain (and temperatures at that moment), so we'll finetune that outlook once that question mark is resolved.
Temperatures on Thursday will be tricky, with a wide spread of numbers between the 50s and 80s. I can generalize and say we'll start the day in the 70s, sliding back into the 60s.
It will be windy on Thursday too, with potential gusts to 30 mph. First out of the southeast, then flipping to a northwesterly direction behind the frontal boundary.
The bottom line for Thursday: We face a few hours of wet, nasty weather amidst a big weather transition.
Friday & Beyond
Showers may linger through mid-morning Friday. But then skies will quickly clear to sunshine by midday, leading to a comfortable afternoon with (very) dry air and dry weather. Highs will be limited to the lower 70s.
One model (the Euro) paints a batch of rain clipping New Jersey on Saturday — but I'm not overly confident that will come to pass. I favor a bright, dry crisp weekend with morning lows in the 50s (even some 40s north and west) and afternoon highs hovering in the lower 70s. Delightful early autumn weather.
In the long-range forecast, it looks like our next stretch of unsettled, wet weather will kick-in around the middle of next week. Just in time to turn the calendar page from September to 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.