The Bottom Line

Umbrellas up and windshield wipers on. We’re facing an occasionally wet, gloomy, and relatively cool day Thursday. But it won’t be a soaker nor a washout.

I keep thinking that if this storm system setup had happened 2 to 3 months ago, we would have a massive headache of a winter storm on our hands. This is one of those forecasts that is so sensitive to the storm track and timing.

Any threat of wintry weather will stay to our north, with up to a foot of snow possible over New England.

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Thursday

Following Wednesday’s pitiful showers, I’ve actually scaled back rainfall expectations for Thursday. Total rainfall will end up between a quarter-inch and a half-inch across most of the Garden State. (I had previously suggested over an inch.)

As of this writing (5:15 a.m.), there is a batch of light rain over New Jersey’s southern coast. Most of the state is starting the day dry, although cloudy. It’s pretty mild, and even a bit humid, with temperatures in the 50s.

And that’s where thermometers will stay, with highs no better than the lower to mid 50s through Thursday afternoon. That is thanks to clouds and raindrops.

It looks like radar will fill-in with widespread rain after about 10 a.m. Thursday morning, with peak rainfall around the afternoon hours. Having said that, the periods of rain will largely be on-and-off. The steadiest stuff will be found to the north and east.

A few models are spitting out some thunderstorms in the late afternoon to early evening hours, associated with an eventual cold frontal passage. I’m not overly concerned about severe weather, given the cool temperatures. But a few rumbles of thunder and pockets of heavy rain are possible as a grand finale to your Thursday.

As we dry out and skies start to clear Thursday evening, it’s going to get pretty chilly. Lows will dip to around 40 degrees overnight. A frost (< 37 degrees) is possible in the state’s coldest spots. I had been promoting the idea of some light snow in far northern New Jersey Thursday night. That chance seems to be lower now than previously thought. There could be some flakes flying around. But I’m even more confident that accumulations and travel issues won’t happen here. (Although, again, Winter Storm Warnings are posted for parts of Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine - in mid-April!)

Friday

Two weather headlines to end the workweek. First, it’s going to be a breezy and cool day. Wind gusts may pop over 20 mph at times. And high temperatures will only reach the lower 50s, which is 10 degrees below seasonal normals.

Periods of sunshine will mix with clouds. And on the backside of that storm system, as it exits New England, we could see a few wraparound rain showers. Best chance would be in the northern third of NJ.

Saturday & Sunday

Overall, the weekend looks OK. Not perfect, especially with a chance for raindrops and slightly-cooler-than-normal temps.

I’ll call Saturday partly sunny, with highs bumping in the upper 50s.

The best chance for rain showers will be Saturday night into Sunday.

Sunday will probably bring more clouds, but also slightly warmer temperatures. Look for highs in the upper 50s to around 60.

The Extended Forecast

Medium-range, a return to westerly and then southwesterly winds early next week will lead to a warmup. 60s (and maybe even 70s) return to NJ thermometers for Monday and Tuesday, with plenty of sun. I’m going with a dry forecast for now.

Our next storm system is modeled around the middle of next week. A pretty run-of-the-mill cold front, we’ll have to add some rain showers to the forecast around the Wednesday time frame.

Long-range models show seasonable temperatures (50s and 60s) as we barrel through the second half of the month. Looking for a big warmup, closer to 80 degrees? You’ll have to wait until the end of April.

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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