NJ weather: Gray and drizzly Wednesday, warm and stormy Thursday
The Bottom Line
The next 48 hours will be a wild weather ride for New Jersey. Temperatures will be all over the place, with a wide variety of conditions across the state.
Wednesday turns pretty "blah" as an on-shore breeze keeps skies cloudy, drizzly, and foggy.
Thursday warms back up, and could be our warmest day since early November. But as the atmosphere cooks, the threat for a strong thunderstorm returns to the forecast too.
Friday turns cooler. Heading into the big holiday weekend, our weather will trend drier and brighter.
After a couple of spectacularly bright, warm, dry spring days, New Jersey's weather takes a step backward on Thursday.
The culprit? A "backdoor" cold front, which has introduced easterly winds across most of the state. Blowing off the chilly 50-degree ocean, that will have a pretty dramatic effect on weather conditions Wednesday.
For most of the state, we'll be socked in by lots of cloud cover. Along with patchy drizzle and fog, especially right along the coast.
The only exception to the blah, gray weather will be the southwestern corner of the state. Breaks of sun will make the area around Salem and Gloucester counties significantly warmer (and nicer) than the rest of the state.
It's not a washout. We're not getting soaked. In fact, you might be able to get by without a jacket as temperatures will stay in the 50s or above all day.
Highs Wednesday afternoon will be totally dependent upon where in the state you are. To the north and east (coast), we'll probably be stuck in the 50s all day. Inland central and southern New Jersey have a shot at 60s. And in sunnier SW NJ, 70s return for another day.
Temperatures won't drop much Wednesday night, settling mainly in the 50s. A shower may clip northern New Jersey too.
There are two big weather headlines on Thursday.
Number one is warmth. Highs will reach about 75 to 80 degrees. (Cooler to the north and along the Jersey Shore.) We have not yet hit 80 degrees in NJ in 2023 — that would be close to a record high for this time of year, running 20+ degrees above seasonal normals.
But number two is thunderstorms. Surging heat and humidity in the atmosphere will provide plenty of "food" for storms, sparked by an approaching cold front. Most likely timing for storms will be mid-afternoon through early evening. Let's say 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. The strongest storms will be found mainly in the southern half of the state.
As I have discussed, yes there is a severe weather risk. But the tornado threat is lower this time around than it was on Saturday, primarily due to less wind shear and limited sunshine. Gusty winds and localized winds are still a concern though. You should definitely consider your outdoor plans very carefully Thursday, and keep an eye on the sky.
The balance of Thursday will be mostly cloudy and breezy. That cold front will arrive Thursday evening, putting an end to any stormy weather. And causing temperatures to fall back into the 40s by Friday morning.
Friday will be cooler than Saturday. But it is hard to call it cool, as the high temperature should still reach around 60 degrees.
Your Good Friday forecast is not perfect though. Clouds will continue to win the sky. And there's a chance that cold front stalls just south of New Jersey. In that scenario, showers may lingering along the southern edge of the state throughout the day.
Saturday & Beyond
The big Easter holiday weekend is coming up. For kids across New Jersey, it's likely either the end or the beginning of Spring Break. And our weather will cooperate nicely.
Saturday may still see some clouds, but I'll optimistically include partial sunshine. High temperatures will be limited to around 50 to 55 degrees, cooler than normal. But we should stay dry.
Easter Sunday looks even better. Sunshine and seasonable 60 degrees.
Next week is trending dry too, with only minimal shower chances modeled through next weekend. A dry stretch of weather usually means a warmup too. We should end up squarely in the 60s for Monday and Tuesday, with 70s and possibly 80s by late next week.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.