The Bottom Line

Let me start by explaining the headline. I use the phrase "the dead of winter" to refer to the average coldest time of the year. There are several ways to calculate exactly when that point of the calendar is, for any point in New Jersey. In general, it's mid to late January. And by some calculations, long-term average temperatures hit rock-bottom on January 18th. So here we are, the average coldest day of the year — it only gets warmer and warmer from now through mid-July, right?

While Wednesday will be mild, quiet, and fairly pleasant across New Jersey, our sights are on our next storm system arriving on Thursday. With temperatures above-freezing, it's going to be a wet and gloomy period of weather. Maybe a washout. Although not a super-soaker storm system, with incredible deluges and flooding potential — our atmosphere won't be "juicy" enough for that.

Friday, Saturday, and daytime Sunday will turn quiet again. Our next storm system Sunday night will be another rain-maker, although there could be some limited wintry potential to watch carefully.

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Wednesday

After some surprise rain showers overnight, we are starting this Wednesday morning with some fog around. In South Jersey, I have seen pockets of dense fog, with visibility down to a half-mile in spots. Just keep your head on a swivel and pay attention, in case you drive into a cloud.

Fog should lift by about 9 a.m. as a stiff westerly breeze kicks in. Top gusts throughout Wednesday will hit about 20 mph.

It's going to be a fairly mild and pleasant January day. Morning temperatures near 40, reaching for about 50 degrees in the afternoon. We'll see a nice mix of sun and clouds overhead.

Wednesday evening stays quiet, although clouds will roll in. Low temperatures will dip into the upper 30s on average. Above freezing — that is an important element for what comes next.

Thursday

Wet. Possibly a washout of a day, with rain in the forecast from morning through evening.

First raindrops will push into New Jersey just before sunrise Thursday morning. Periods of rain will dampen the state through the morning and afternoon hours. And then I expect rain to exit sometime between about 7 p.m. and Midnight.

Rainfall totals should end up between a half-inch and an inch, with the higher amounts to the north. Healthy, but not necessarily heavy rain. Dew points will only rise into the 40s here — not exactly a moisture-rich atmosphere. That will limit how much "downpour" action can happen. It's going to be wet and gloomy. Not dramatic.

Temperatures will stay above freezing for the duration. However, I can't rule out a few snowflakes mixed in, only around NW NJ. At the same time, there could be a rumble of thunder or two in South Jersey.

Even Thursday night, temperatures will only fall into the upper 30s. I do not see any risk for a flash freeze or slippy spots.

Friday

Back to brighter, drier weather. Having said that, a piece of energy riding north of Jersey could spark an isolated rain or snow shower at some point.

Otherwise, we'll see partly sunny skies Friday, with the return of breeze conditions. Temperatures will still reach above normal, peaking around 45 to 50 degrees in the afternoon.

Saturday

A quick, although cool day. High temperatures will slide back into the seasonable lower 40s to kick off the weekend. I'll call it partly sunny. Saturday's weather looks completely dry.

Sunday & Beyond

I don't think you'll have any problems with Sunday datetime either. It will turn cloudy, as high temperatures return to the upper 40s.

Our next storm system comes into view late Sunday. Maybe as early as 4 p.m. More likely holding off until after sunset.

Bottom line: It looks like another rainy mess, lasting from Sunday evening through early Monday morning. Current models show the storm system will be accompanied by a pool of warmer air, pushing temperatures into the 50s around Midnight. While that makes a wintry situation unlikely, I wouldn't rule out some mixing on the front or back side of the storm. Especially in colder North Jersey. Just something we'll have to watch as the forecast continues to firm up.

Clearing skies will ensue Monday afternoon, with at-or-above-normal temperatures into Tuesday. Another storm signal comes into view around the middle of next week.

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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