20° below normal: How long will NJ’s winter-ish cold snap last?
The Bottom Line
It's cold. It's windy. And snow showers are likely. Is this late March ... or the middle of January?
We face three days of unseasonably cold temperatures, and Monday will easily be the bottom of the barrel. Akin to temperatures in the "dead of winter," you'll want to dress like you would in the middle of January. Some fun facts:
1.) Temperatures will run about 20 degrees below normal for this time of year.
2.) Depending on where in the state you are, this will be your coldest day in either 2 or 6 weeks.
3.) By the numbers, this would be New Jersey's coldest (astronomical) Spring day in 8 years — since March 22, 2014.
4.) If thermometers really crash, record low temperatures may be in jeopardy early Tuesday morning.
The second half of the week will bring welcome warmer temperatures. And also unsettled weather, in the form of scattered showers and thunderstorms. (Maybe some wintry mix too.)
Truly a blustery, winter-ish day. As you know, it's not just the cold air that takes your breath away, it's the wind too. Consistently howling out of the northwest at 15 to 25 mph, it will add a big bite to the air.
Mainly 20s in the morning. No better than mid 30s in the afternoon. The wind chill (the "feels like" or "apparent" temperature) will be stuck in the teens and 20s all day.
I highly recommend you dress as you would in the middle of January. That's the kind of wintry chill we face.
We'll start the day with a mix of sun and clouds. And then, just like on Sunday, a batch of snow showers and snow squalls will blow into the state in the afternoon. (Between about 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.) We may pick up a dusting in spots. And visibility may be reduced in pockets of heavier snow. Stay alert.
Monday night will stay frigid, with lows on either side of 20 degrees. It will be clear, with a biting breeze.
Some improvements, but still unseasonably cold.
First of all, it will be bright and sunny. Second, the wind will be lighter (but still an occasional stiff breeze). Third, temperatures will push into the lower 40s. Still 10+ degrees below normal, but we're getting there.
Inching closer to normal temperatures, but our weather turns more unsettled too.
Highs on Wednesday should reach about 45 to 50 degrees. Getting there.
The big question mark for Wednesday is how a little impulse riding into our atmosphere from the west affects our weather. At the very least, we'll see extra cloud cover develop. And — if the trajectory is just right, and the air isn't too dry — a period of precipitation may overtake the state around midday Wednesday.
Temperatures aloft may very well be cold enough for Wednesday's precipitation to take the form of wintry mix. Leaning more toward the "wet and slushy" end of the mixed precip spectrum, rather than "icy".
The big warmup is on. A warm front drives in warmer air, fueled by a strong southerly breeze. High temperatures should climb into the upper 60s across most of the state. 70+ degree is a possibility for inland South Jersey.
The increase in temperatures will come with an uptick in humidity. And that will setup the atmosphere for scattered showers and thunderstorms. The best chance for raindrops currently looks to be between Noon and Midnight Thursday.
I wouldn't rule out the possibility of severe weather (flooding, wind, hail, tornado) on Thursday too, especially along the western edge of New Jersey. That risk will be largely based on timing and temperatures.
We'll zoom in on details as the week goes along — if you have travel plans Thursday afternoon or evening, you'll want to keep a close eye on this forecast.
Friday & Beyond
Under the influence of a cold front, Friday will turn cooler and windy again. But it's not another blast from the arctic. Really, temperatures are just going to settle to near-normal levels to begin the month of April.
My latest forecast goes partly sunny skies sand a gusty wind on Friday, with highs in the upper 50s. Partly sunny and lower 50s on Saturday. Partly sunny and mid 50s on Sunday. Not too shabby, as long as our weather stays dry.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.