I feel like bright, sunny days are more important than ever right about now. With New Jersey's non-essential citizenry hunkering down during the coronavirus crisis, it means so much to be able to take a socially-distanced walk, catch a breath of fresh air, or at least soak in some Vitamin D. You'll definitely get that opportunity on Thursday. Parts of Friday and Sunday will be OK too. But that's it — we do have to talk about more rain, clouds, and some big temperatures swings on the way.

Skies have cleared out and dried out nicely overnight, so you're waking up to a little chill in the air on this Thursday morning. Temperatures are in the 30s across the state, with a light freeze in and around Sussex, Warren, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties.

Thermometers will generally bump into the mid to upper 50s Thursday afternoon. The only exception will be the Jersey Shore, as coastal communities feel a light sea breeze — the chilly ocean/bay water (temps in the upper 40s) are always an important forecast factor in the springtime.

Overall, I'm calling a "pleasant" late March day, since sunshine will win the sky and temperatures will end up a few degrees above normal for this time of year.

However, our next storm system will start to push in from the west Thursday night, leading to a noticeable increase in cloud cover and eventually some rain. Showers look to creep into the Garden State starting around 10 p.m.

And those showers will be with us throughout Friday morning, wrapping up around lunchtime. Rainfall totals will be light, less than a tenth of an inch. Not really nasty, just damp.

In fact, I'm optimistic that Friday will not be a total loss, thanks to pops of sun and warmer temperatures Friday afternoon. Highs will climb into the lower 60s.

Saturday, on the other hand, will bring a return to not-very-pleasant weather to New Jersey. We'll see scattered rain starting up around mid-morning, and lasting right through the afternoon and evening hours. It will be cloudy and breezy and cool, with highs only around 50 degrees.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms will probably linger into Sunday morning, at least. And I have to admit that raindrops aren't out of the question for Sunday afternoon too. A warm front will lift northward just far enough to bring a big warmup to part of New Jersey Sunday afternoon. Our latest forecast calls for lower 50s in North Jersey, but lower 70s in South Jersey.

As I have mentioned on previous days, I hesitate to look too far into the future because the position, direction, and speed of that warm front is everything here. For now, I'm leaning toward a dry and mild Monday, with a mix of sun and clouds and highs near 60. Tuesday turns cloudier and cooler. And there's a chance for another big batch of rain arriving on Wednesday — the GFS model shows a miss, while the Euro shows a hit.

Enjoy the sunshine, dry weather, and mild temperatures!

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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