Wednesday NJ weather: Cooler, sunny, breezy, high fire danger
The Bottom Line
Cooler air is now arriving in New Jersey, on a brisk northwesterly winds. And that is the only weather story for Wednesday. On paper, it still looks like a nice, bright, sunny, dry day. Just a bit on the cool side.
The same will be true for Thursday and Friday too.
Our next storm system and chance of rain is coming up on Saturday. Just showers, and limited at that. This is trending toward one of the driest May months on record for New Jersey. Which lends to increased wildfire danger and spiraling drought concerns again.
Cooler air is leaking into New Jersey a bit slower than anticipated. So it's a pretty mild morning — temperatures as of this writing (6 a.m.) are close to 60 degrees across most of the state.
But you will notice the stiff northwesterly breeze, gusting over 20 mph at times. That will push temperatures downward, into the 50s, through mid-morning. And then thermometers should recover to the mid 60s or so Wednesday afternoon. (I can not call that Wednesday's "high" temperature, as it was close to 70 just after Midnight.)
Yes, it will be cooler than Tuesday. Yes, Wednesday afternoon could be New Jersey's coolest in about two weeks. Yes, the breeze could add a blustery characteristic to the day. But overall? It's still going to be a nice day.
Expect bright blue skies and golden sunshine all day. Our weather will stay completely dry.
The combination of gusty winds, dry air, and dry brush will lead to increased wildfire danger on Wednesday. A Red Flag Warning has been issued specifically for the Pine Barrens — any fire that does spark is apt to spread rapidly.
Wednesday night, clear skies, lighter winds, and this cool/dry air mass will give perfect "radiational cooling" conditions. And that means temperatures are going to nosedive overnight. Lows will bottom out close to 40 degrees. Areas in the 30s (NW and Pinelands) are subject to patchy frost — farmers and gardeners, you have been warned.
More of the same, with slightly lighter winds and slightly cooler temperatures.
Sunny skies. Dry air and dry weather. Highs in the lower 60s. That is about 10 degrees below normal for mid-May.
Another nice day. And the start of our next warmup.
Some clouds will build in Friday. But I think it will be partly sunny — approximately 50% sun and 50% clouds.
As an area of low pressure passes well off-shore, New Jersey's breeze will shift to blow from the southeast. That is a sea breeze for the Jersey Shore. So while inland areas will shoot for 70 on Friday, coastal towns will be stuck in the 60s again.
The weekend begins with a "mixed news" kind of weather day. Two pieces of energy — a coastal low and a weak cold front — could drive some clouds and showers into New Jersey, during Saturday's daytime hours.
Timing of rainfall (morning vs. afternoon) and spread (north vs. south) are still up in the air. While I do expect some damp weather on Saturday, the shower potential looks pretty limited overall. Rainfall totals may exceed a tenth of an inch, but that's pushing it. Saturday is definitely not a washout.
Otherwise, expect mostly cloudy skies and highs in the lower 70s.
Sunday & Beyond
Once again, I think it is safe to declare Sunday as the nicer day of the upcoming weekend. It will be brighter, drier, and warmer.
Look for partly to mostly cloudy skies, no rain, and high temperatures in the mid 70s Sunday.
Next week starts with dry weather, bright skies, and 70+ degree temperatures. There have been hints in model guidance at a "backdoor" cold front setup for late next week, which would lead to increased cloud cover and another cooldown. We will be watching that potential carefully — especially since the Memorial Day Weekend is looming just around the corner.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.