Just two days ago, parts of New Jersey were approaching 80 degrees. Then yesterday, a strong cold front came through and gave most of the region minor accumulations of snow and sleet! Newark Airport officially recorded 0.4″ of snow, LaGuardia Airport had 0.3″, New Brunswick, NJ had 0.2″, and Freehold, NJ reported 1.5″ of snow.
The cold airmass responsible for the snowfall will remain entrenched for the rest of the afternoon, tonight, and tomorrow, as a cold high pressure system slowly slides eastward. It was to our northwest last night and this morning, which brought in strong northwesterly winds from Canada — its gradual approach shifted our winds to northerly, which is actually an even colder wind direction, keeping our highs in the 40s this afternoon. The winds have calmed a bit throughout the day, but are still blustery — however, as the high pressure continues to get closer, we will be directly underneath it, where winds are much calmer. Thus, we expect winds to keep getting calmer and be very light during the evening.
The initially calmer winds will feel nice; however, calm winds and clear skies associated with the high pressure — especially in a cold and dry airmass — lead to radiational cooling conditions. This will allow temperatures to quickly drop into the 30s this evening. As the night goes on, the high pressure will slide to the east of us, which puts us back into the flow of wind — this time, out of the northeast, so winds will increase to around 10mph as the night goes on.
This will allow radiational cooling to slow down, which will prevent the area from hitting records. Still, however, low temperatures could approach freezing in the city, and just below freezing inland, which has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Freeze Warning. Northeast winds are still a cold wind — just not as cold as a due northerly wind would have been — or even calm winds for better radiational cooling.
During the day tomorrow, the high pressure will still be just to our east, leading to continually northeasterly winds. The airmass will be slightly warmer tomorrow than today, but with the winds coming off the colder waters to our northeast, there is only so much warming that can occur.
Notice how for tomorrow afternoon’s high temperatures, the forecast is colder right along the Jersey Shore, with temperatures only in the low 40s — this is because the wind is coming right off the cold Ocean. This will keep the Jersey Shore and Eastern Long Island in the low 40s for tomorrow. The city should be able to hit the mid 40s with a few isolated upper 40s, with more widespread upper 40s to perhaps around 50 further west, where a northeasterly wind is not able to bring in as much cold Atlantic air.
As the high pressure moves a bit further away, it may allow for a weak storm system to approach the area for Friday and/or Saturday. Despite this, Friday is likely dry with partly sunny skies — easterly winds off the Ocean from the departing high pressure will still keep things a tad chilly, however, with temperatures only in the low 50s. Saturday has the better chance of a few showers, but we still might be able to escape dry. A gradual warming trend is expected for Saturday and Sunday, but certainly nothing near the warmth we had this past weekend. Sunday looks to be the better of the two weekend days, with sunny skies and highs around 60.