Wet to windy to cold
Phase 1: rain, rain, rain
Good year! 2022 starts off with soggy, miserable weather for New Jersey. (For the record, 2021 started out almost exactly the same: rainy and mild.)
As of this writing (7:30 a.m.), light and scattered raindrops have started to fall over New Jersey. That’s pretty much the story for the daytime hours on Saturday: regular bands of rain passing just over New Jersey. No big worries for flash floods / river. Nor any winter weather. You might hear a roar or two of thunder along the way. (Especially when the high temperatures reach around 60 degrees.)
There will be a few breaks in the rains action on Saturday, but they won’t last long. And the sky will remain cloudy and gray and cloudy and hazy / foggy for the duration.
The heaviest rain of the weekend is expected to arrive on Saturday night as it pours for several hours.
Scattered rains will continue until Sunday morning. I don’t think it will be as heavy and stable as Saturday day or night.
Eventually, a cold front – the leading edge of cooler, drier air – will sweep northwest to southeast across the state on Sunday. This will end the rain in the afternoon. Of course, this will also end our period of warmer than normal temperatures. (More on cooldown in a moment.)
Total precipitation is expected to vary from 0.5 to 1.5 inches statewide. Healthy and essential rains for the “abnormally dry” southern third of New Jersey. The models have rocked a bit in the last few races about Who receives the most rain. For now, North Jersey is favored to see the heaviest showers.
One final note: we are currently in a period of unusually high tides. It’s not really weather related, but daily minor coastal flooding is possible throughout the weekend. Coastal flood warning are displayed for the entire New Jersey coast, including Raritan Bay and Delaware Bay.
Phase 2: The wind rises
With the wet comes the wind. Both before and after.
Throughout the weekend, amid the precipitation, it will vary from “windy” to “windy” as a south-southeast flow keeps our atmosphere filled with humidity and balmy temperatures.
The biggest “gust” of wind is expected to arrive as our new arctic air mass arrives late Sunday. Although the latest estimates are lower than those we discussed on previous days, gusts will likely reach 30 mph through Sunday night and Monday. Enough to spill unsecured holiday decorations, trash cans, etc.
Of course, that wind will bite too, thanks to our mass of cool, cold air. (More on this in another moment.)
Phase 3: Another cycle of precipitation
As the aforementioned frontal limit drifts off to Monday, another piece of energy should slide along it. If it is close enough and if the atmosphere is not too dry, we could see a period of snow until Monday morning. (Note: these are big though.)
The GFS model was particularly optimistic about the potential for snow accumulation of up to two. I am much less optimistic. Although it’s cold enough for an “all snow” situation, I just think we’ll be too far from the “core” of the storm system for much havoc here in the Garden State.
That said, even a brief spell of moderate to heavy snow and a healthy surface on the ground could be problematic. Especially if it’s particularly inconvenient, during the long commute back to work and Monday morning school. The best chance would be along the south coast.
So I can’t exactly call it “zero impact” – we’ll keep watching it, and you should too.
Phase 4: The big freeze
With all the bad weather out of the way, let’s talk about a real January cold coming.
Low temperatures Monday morning will likely average in the mid-1920s statewide. And peaks will struggle to reach the mid-1930s, barely above zero.
Add in the strong wind that continues, and it’s going to be quite windy. Wind chills will likely be stuck in the 20s all day, at best.
As the wind calms down, Tuesday will likely be the coldest of the bunch, with thermometers dropping to around 20 degrees. Tuesday’s highs will hopefully hit the upper 30s, but remain below normal for early January.
Our next meteorologist?
the really The cold air will only last on Monday and Tuesday, before temperatures moderate to near normal below 40 on Wednesday.
The model guidance shows another storm system signal at the end of next week, in the period from Thursday to Friday. But this is not a “slam dunk” – it will be one of those cases where the exact path of the storm dictates the temperatures, and therefore the type of precipitation. Of course, we got to see snow piling up (really, our first of the season). But at this point I’d say rain is just as likely.
There are still 5-6 days left at this point – well worth watching. If there is something sinister looming over the weekend, we’ll start talking about the details around Monday or Tuesday.
Dan Zarrow is chief meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest real-time weather forecasts and updates.
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