The Bottom Line

The last time we had widespread precipitation over New Jersey was Sunday, January 3rd.  After 11 days of silent, stagnant conditions, a potent little storm system is set to swing through the Garden State Friday evening.  It is going to be stormy and wet, but not wintry.

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This infrared satellite image from Friday morning shows a potent storm system inching toward New Jersey. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

Friday

We begin the day with light fog across much of the state.  I haven't seen any visibility numbers below 2 miles - so it's just going to be something you'll notice off in the distance, not an urgent travel hazard necessarily.

The issue is that the fog and clouds will hang around throughout the day.  That, combined with an easterly breeze, will keep conditions rather gray and dreary.  And it will have a significant impact on temperatures too.  Especially in North Jersey, where thermometers will get stuck in the lower-mid 40s.  I expect the central and southern portions of the state to reach about 50 degrees, just like Thursday.

As humidity increases and our next storm system approaches from the west, spotty rain showers will be possible starting in the mid to late afternoon hours.  No model puts raindrops over New Jersey before 2 p.m.  And most guidance keeps the rain away until dinnertime or later.

The main event - our period of steadiest rain - will arrive late Friday evening (around 9 or 10 p.m.)  That rain will likely be heavy at times, especially for the northern half of NJ.  Thunder and lightning are possibilities.  And a marginally gusty wind may top 30 mph at times.

So overall, a wet and stormy night.  Rainfall totals will probably range from about a quarter-inch in South Jersey to an inch in North Jersey. Despite the drenching, I still maintain we're not facing anything too dramatic or severe.  And certainly nothing wintry, with most temperatures staying about 40 degrees for the duration.

Saturday

Rain should exit the state by mid-morning Saturday (8 or 9 a.m.)  And then we'll dry out, with breaks of sunshine through the middle of the day.  It will be breezy, out of the west at 10 to 20 mph.  And temperatures will gently slide backward, from the upper 40s (late morning) to lower 40s (late afternoon).

On the backside of our departing storm system, I can't rule out a snow or rain shower around sunset.  Some model guidance shows some squall-ish action around southern New Jersey, perhaps with a coating on the ground somewhere.  Just keep this possibility in mind.

Sunday

Bright and sunny, although the brisk westerly wind will continue.  (And potentially intensify somewhat, with gusts back to 30+ mph.)

High temperatures will settle around the mid 40s.  It will be a cool day - but that is about 5 degrees above-normal for mid-January.  (This is, on average, the coldest few days of the year.)

Monday & Beyond

Monday will feature sun, clouds, and flurries with seasonable high temperatures in the lower 40s.  Tuesday looks quiet too.

Our next weather headline will be an intrusion of cold, arctic air around the middle of next week.  At the moment, that is forecast to arrive on Wednesday with a burst of showers, a gusty (40 mph) wind, and then tumbling temperatures.  By the end of next week, we could see high temperatures only in the 30s for the bulk of the state.  It's about time winter reared its ugly head again, right?

Having said that, I don't see any big snowmakers in the forecast for the next week.  There's an opportunity for a wintry storm system next weekend, according to the Euro model.  But it's too early to call it a hit or miss (especially since the GFS shows nothing at all).

Stay dry, stay warm, stay healthy, and have a great weekend!

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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