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An extended period of cool, breezy weather in the forecast for NJ

Daily high temperatures look to remain below seasonal normals for the foreseeable future across the Garden State.

The operative word of the upcoming forecast: Cool! Normal high temperatures for early May are in the upper 60s to near 70 degrees. We won’t even come close to that benchmark for several of the next few days.

Having said that, Wednesday doesn’t look too bad overall. We should enjoy plenty of sunshine throughout the day, with only occasional clouds (especially in North Jersey, especially in the morning hours). As a weak, mostly dry front comes through the state, we could see a few sprinkles along the way (again, especially in North Jersey, and especially in the morning hours).

Temperatures will be cooler than the past few days, with highs limited to the lower to mid 60s for Wednesday afternoon. It’s going to be a bit windy too — not as blustery as Tuesday, but gusts may still reach 30 mph.

Wednesday night looks like the coolest night we’ve seen in New Jersey in about a week and a half. With calming winds, just a few clouds overhead, and a dry forecast, low temperatures will dip into the lower to mid 40s for most of the Garden State. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few 30s in the coolest spots — NW NJ, and the middle of the Pine Barrens. It may even be cool enough for some patchy ground frost to form by Thursday morning. But I need to stress frost is a limited, isolated concern — the vast majority of early-season gardeners in New Jersey will fare just fine.

Clouds will steadily increase throughout Thursday, ahead of our next storm system. Showers will be possible from the afternoon and evening hours. Thanks to the thickening clouds and a flip to a southeasterly flip, temperatures will be even cooler. Thermometers will barely reach the lower 60s Thursday afternoon, and Jersey Shore locales may get stuck in the 50s all day.

Friday is going to be a wet and windy day across the Garden State. Periods of moderate to heavy rain could lead to a soggy washout of a day, with rainfall totals potentially in the 1 to 2 inch range. Or more!

I have to admit the National Weather Service made a good point in their forecast discussion suggesting that Friday’s rain could come in two waves. The first, mainly in the morning, would produce a period of steady, driving rain. Miserable and uncomfortable. If there is a break in the rainfall action — and especially if sunshine breaks through the clouds, warming temperatures into the lower 70s — the second round of rain later Friday could take the form of strong thunderstorms. Not a guarantee, just something worth watching.

So there are still some big question marks about the mode of Friday’s rain, and about exact timing too. The NAM model continues to paint an elongated timeline, with first showers Thursday evening and final drops early Saturday morning. The progression of rainfall according to the GFS model is more compact: showers early Friday morning, steady stuff throughout the day, then tapering off Friday evening.

The first weekend of May will continue the below-normal temperatures and breezy conditions. There could be a few more rain showers Saturday afternoon and evening, on the backside of Friday’s system. High temperatures will be in the mid to (maybe) upper 60s. Sunday looks drier, with just an isolated shower chance. Sunday also will be cooler, with highs barely reaching 60 degrees.

By the end of the weekend, we’re going to be hungry for some warmth. And Mother Nature will not deliver. Highs on Monday and Tuesday may only reach the 50s. That’s more reminiscent of late March weather than mid-May.

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.

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