Cool weather continues for NJ, frost/freeze likely Thursday night
Your Thursday weather buffet menu includes cool temperatures, an occasional breeze, and a few showers. Frost advisories and warnings are posted Thursday night, as New Jersey faces its coldest night in about three weeks. And we're watching our next storm system, set to arrive on Friday.
Thursday morning is starting off chilly, with temperatures ranging from the mid 30s (inland) to mid 40s (coast). While I suspect we saw some patchy frost in spots, it was not widespread — yet. Some light shower activity picked up overnight, including some snowflakes in far northern New Jersey. But those drops and flakes won't survive past sunrise.
You'll see periods of sunshine mixed with cloud cover Thursday, with an occasional breeze (10 to 20 mph). High temperatures will get stuck around 50 degrees — that is a full 10 degrees cooler than normal for mid-April.
In addition, models have hinted at some widely scattered showers Thursday afternoon. Just a smattering of raindrops, maybe enough to flip on the windshield wipers for a few minutes. I wouldn't rule out a snow shower in far northern NJ, along and above Interstate 80.
Then Thursday night will be clear. And calm. And dry. And cold. My estimate puts low temperatures mainly between 30 and 35 degrees. So a widespread frost or freeze is likely away from urban areas and the immediate coast. That is mainly a heads up to farmers and gardeners that even though we've had a good three weeks of "growing season" so far, it may not have fully started with these chilly temps on the way.
Just in case you're interested, we are coming up on our average last frost and freeze of the season. According to some quick back-of-the-envelope climatological research, I found the average last freeze in New Jersey occurs between April 4 (urban) and May 5 (northwest). The average last frost (<e;36 degrees) ranges from April 15 (urban) to May 20 (northwest). Heck, North Jersey has frozen as late as June 1st! (That happened in Sussex in 1997.)
Therefore, having such chilly, frosty temperatures in mid-April? Not unusual at all.
Friday will start sunny and dry, with highs again in the upper 40s to (maybe) lower 50s. Clouds and rain will return Friday afternoon as our next storm system moves in. And our weather will remain wet through Friday evening, Friday night, and Saturday morning.
I don't see anything overly dramatic from this system. Maybe a bit of wind along the coast early Saturday, possibly gusting to 40 mph. I'm optimistic that slow clearing will take over by Saturday afternoon — although it's admittedly not a guarantee that we'll dry out quite so early. High temperatures will remain on the cool side for one more day Saturday, in the lower to mid 50s.
Sunday is the shining star in this forecast, as sunshine resumes and temperatures return to the lower to mid 60s. A lovely conclusion to the weekend.
We'll come close to 60 degrees on Monday too. But it will come with significant cloud cover, and a chance for rain. This is a coastal storm system, currently forecast to just barely clip the Jersey Shore. As that storm track forecast firms up, we'll gather a better sense on rainfall spread, intensity, and timing and how that will ultimately impact temperatures. I'm not seeing any coastal flooding signals at the moment, but it's something else we'll be watching closely.
Both Tuesday and Wednesday turn bright and pleasant, with highs in the upper 50s to lower 60s. Light breeze and springtime sunshine? Yes, please!