Wintry pattern set to break as big warmup awaits

It has been a wintry scene throughout the area over the past few weeks. In fact, many areas have exceeded snowfall averages for the first half or winter or more — and calendar winter hasn’t even technically begun yet! Snow fell on four separate occasions throughout the area, with everyone getting a taste of winter. Snow events blanketed Central and Southern New Jersey first, then favored the interior areas, and a clipper as recently as Tuesday brought snow to everyone (albeit light). But the cold and wintry pattern will take a hiatus over the next several days, as a changing pattern brings a big trough into the West and Central United States and allows the Southeast Ridge to flex its muscles.

Forecast models are in good agreement on a warming trend in temperatures each day this week, as the snowcover which currently exists throughout the region will take more of a hit with each passing day and each day of increasing high temperatures. The grand finale will come this weekend, when a surface low is forecast to drive well northwest of the region — and bring strong southerly winds to the area on the south side of a developing warm front. Although some showers, clouds and fog are also likely — these things come with the territory of warmer air this time of year — temperatures are likely to warm into the 60’s on Sunday. There may be potential for record warmth in some areas.

European model showing maximum temperatures on Sunday afternoon, with highs in the upper 60's throughout the region.

European model showing maximum temperatures on Sunday afternoon, with highs in the upper 60’s throughout the region.

The first of the unsettled weather looks to come on Friday, as a frontal boundary and disturbances aloft cause increasing clouds and showers. High temperatures by that point will have modified and warmed into the 50’s, which is sure to feel like a tropical airmass after several days of 20’s and snowy conditions in the area. The chances of showers and clouds, as well as widespread fog during the overnight and morning periods, will continue through Saturday, when high temperatures will make a move towards the upper 50’s during the afternoon hours.

The surface low is forecast to drive north of the area on Sunday, with mid level ridging and southerly winds at the surface. Although the frontal boundary will be nearby — and we aren’t expecting much warm sun — high temperatures on Sunday will climb into the 60’s in all likelihood, bringing many areas near their record highs for the date. The ECMWF model was most aggressive recently, bringing temperatures near 70. And the overnight GFS has highs in the upper 60’s through the NYC region.

Stay tuned over the next few days for more details and information on the warmup and associated unsettled weather this coming weekend. Until then, sun and near average temperatures will dominate on both Wednesday and Thursday.