The Bottom Line

Fall is in the air. Not just because of the brilliant colors popping, and the accelerating leaf fall, but with our typical warmup-then-cooldown pattern underway. This is a highly "autumnal" forecast.

For the third time in the month of October, we find ourselves in a "cool snap" — Thursday will be the third day in a row of below-normal temperatures. While we avoided a widespread overnight frost this time around, it's only because wind speeds are elevated. That breeze is going to be a nuisance Thursday, keeping the cool air moving around.

There are two big weather stories in the forecast. First is a warming trend through Thursday, Friday, and Saturday — bringing temperatures to near-normal (or even a little above) as we head into the weekend.

We are also tracking a coastal storm system, set to arrive in New Jersey on Sunday. The timeline of that storm is still hazy. But I can tell you it's not looking all that impressive — the threat for heavy rain and big wind seems limited. It's just going to bring a period of inclement, dreary weather to New Jersey through early next week.

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Thursday

Thursday morning is not quite as cold as Wednesday morning — temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. But that's because a breeze has kept the cool air stirred up. So instead of frost, we have a little wind chill. The end result is the same: You will be reaching for the jacket, sweater, or hoodie.

And you'll keep the bundling-up attire Thursday afternoon too. It will be bright and sunny all day. And breezy too — that wind will blow out of the southwest over 20 mph at times. The wind will be the nuisance of the day. However, a southwesterly wind direction typically is not a "chilly" one.

So temperatures will end up a few degrees warmer than Wednesday. Look for highs in the upper 50s to around 60. That is hovering about 5 to 10 degrees below normal for this time of year.

The wind will finally lighten up Thursday evening. And that will allow temperatures to tank, bottoming out around 40 degrees by Friday morning. But plenty of non-coastal, non-urban New Jersey will be in the 30s, allowing for another round of frost..

Friday

More sunshine. Lighter winds. And slightly warmer temperatures. Highs around 60 to 65 degrees is getting pretty close to normal for this time of year.

Saturday

The peak of our current warming trend. We'll start the day in the 40s — with only limited frost potential. And high temperatures will shoot for the upper 60s. 70 degrees is not out of the question.

We'll start the day with brilliant sunshine. However, the approach of a coastal storm system from the southeast will likely introduce clouds by late afternoon.

Some models (namely, the short-range NAM) show rain creeping into New Jersey as early as Saturday afternoon too. But I've opted for a dry, pleasant forecast for now

Sunday

As I mentioned, I'm dubious as to the strength, spread, and overall impacts of this weekend's coastal storm system.

At the very least, Sunday will turn cloudy. And breezy to windy too. (Gusts may approach 30 mph along the Jersey Shore.)

And then scattered rain chances will come into play during the daytime hours on Sunday. I do not think it's going to be a washout. However, it will be wet — most model guidance puts a half-inch to an inch of rain over New Jersey.

Temperatures will respond to the damp and dreary weather. Sunday will be about 10 degrees cooler than Saturday, with highs in the upper 50s or so.

Monday & Beyond

The forecast for early next week is a bit more pessimistic than we have discussed in the past, as a piece of that coastal storm system stalls nearby.

I'm calling Monday mostly cloudy, with a chance of a lingering shower or sprinkle. At least high temperatures will be more seasonable, pushing back into the 60s.

Still lots of clouds on Tuesday, but thermometers will come closer to 70.

And then our next cold front is set to arrive around Wednesday or Thursday. With another chance of rain, followed by another burst of chilly air.

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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