The Bottom Line

Soak in as much sun as you can on Monday, because the rest of the week turns pretty unsettled. A pair of storm systems will once again potentially soak New Jersey this week. The first period of wet weather will come Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning. The second one — which is far less certain — is set for Thursday night into Friday.

Meanwhile, temperatures will ride a roller coaster as we travel through the week. Seasonable Monday. Mild for Tuesday and Wednesday. And then eventually, an arctic chill will grip NJ again. (By the weekend, at the latest.)

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Monday

To start, it's cold outside. Thermometers have plummeted into the teens and 20s away from the coast Monday morning. Bundle up a bit. And you may find a layer of frost on your car, needing scraping or an extended warm-up. (I did!)

Otherwise, I have opted for a "persistence" forecast for Monday. In other words, just "copy and paste" Sunday's weather conditions into Monday.

The day starts sunny, with some clouds gently building through the afternoon. It will be dry all day, with light winds. High temperatures will reach the upper 40s to around 50 degrees.

That is right about where we should be this time of year. So I can call it a reasonably pleasant early December day.

Monday night stays quiet too. As skies become mostly cloudy, low temperatures will dip into the upper 30s on average. Only the coldest corners of the state will freeze overnight.

Tuesday

Our next storm system, a wave of low pressure, will pass over New Jersey on Tuesday. The later the day gets, the wetter the forecast.

Tuesday morning, we could see some patchy fog and/or spotty showers creep in. Steadier, heavier rain will likely arrive sometime Tuesday afternoon. And then peak rainfall will probably come into play Tuesday evening.

Overall, this system is going to play out very similarly to the last two storms (on Wednesday and Saturday of last week). A period of soaking rain will amount to about a half-inch of total rainfall, give or take. Some wind gusts over 20 mph are possible, but nothing crazy. No severe weather. No wintry weather. Nothing inherently dangerous, just inclement.

High temperatures are expected to spike into the mid 50s Tuesday. And those temps should remain steady — if not rise slightly — through Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Wednesday

The latest batch of wet weather should wrap up early, followed by a period of dry weather. But skies will stay murky and unsettled throughout Wednesday.

Forecast models put final raindrops around 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. And high temperatures may hit 60 degrees. Cloudy, but mild and dry through the afternoon.

Thursday & Beyond

Beyond Wednesday, the forecast becomes a total coin flip. Another storm system will approach the East Coast in the Thursday-Friday time frame. But there are some huge question marks about the track, temperatures, and precipitation type.

The GFS model has been rocksteady in showing a direct hit from that area of low pressure, in the Thursday night to Friday time frame. Another period of soaking rain could total over an inch. In this solution, temperatures would remain in the 50s for the duration, keeping wintry weather away. After the mild, rainy weather, we would face an arctic blast and tumbling temperatures into the weekend.

The European model has a new wrinkle. A stronger arctic high pressure area to the north would shove the storm track south. So the Carolinas get soaked instead of Jersey. (It's actually a nor'easter-ish track, minus the turn up the coastline.) We would be significantly colder in this scenario. If the northern edge of that storm system comes close enough, there could be some snowflakes in southern NJ. The weekend would be less tumultuous, but definitely cold.

At this point, I favor the first scenario over the second. Simply because that's been the predominant trend for a few days now.

But I'm not afraid to say "I don't know" when forecasting a tricky situation like this. I will just tell you to stay tuned, as we gain clarity and confidence in the coming hours and days.

The long-range forecast is still trending colder-than-normal. However, I do not see any major winter storms on the horizon. For now.

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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