Friday's forecast is wintry, blustery, and just plain cold.

Just two weeks ago, we were enjoying one of the warmest Octobers on record, with regular high temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Keep those warm memories close over the next few days, as this season's first taste of arctic air arrives in the Garden State.

Thursday actually looks pretty good. We'll see occasional clusters of clouds overhead. Thursday morning temperatures are in the 30s and 40s, warming to the mid 50s by Thursday afternoon. That's a few degrees warmer than Wednesday, and a few degrees cooler than seasonal normals. There's a batch of rain just south of Cape May, so I can't rule out a stray shower drifting into New Jersey at some point Thursday.

Our cold air will start to arrive Thursday night. A frost is likely and a freeze is possible for most of the state (that's away from the coast), with low temps generally in the lower to mid 30s. Skies will remain partly cloudy and dry. A brisk wind will pick up sometime between Midnight and 5 a.m.

And that fierce northwesterly wind will fuel our big cooldown for Friday, gusting to 30+ mph. Despite mostly sunny skies, forecast high temperatures are in the upper 30s — but that "warmth" will occur around late morning Friday. Yes, that means thermometers will fall during Friday afternoon, to about the lower 30s by sunset.

This looks to be New Jersey's coldest day since mid-March. Both high and low temperatures will be 15 to 20 degrees below normal for early-to-mid November.

The math is pretty easy here. Cold Temperatures + Fierce Wind = Bitter, Blustery Conditions. With a wind chill ("feels like" or "apparent") temperature in the 20s all day Friday, this is "dead of winter" level cold! Winter coat, hat, gloves, and scarf aren't out of the question here. And do not leave your pets outside in this cold — this kind of cold is just as painful and potentially dangerous for them.

The coldest of the cold, as a widespread hard freeze grips the Garden State. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

The bottom of this arctic blast will occur Friday night through Saturday morning. Thermometers will drop well into the 20s across most of the state, with teens in the coldest spots. Add the continued stiff breeze, and wind chills could be as low as 10 degrees. Ouch! And brrr!

A Freeze Watch has been issued for South Jersey (Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties) and the urban corridor of northeastern New Jersey (eastern Bergen, eastern Essex, Hudson, and eastern Union counties), as such a hard freeze has yet to occur this season. Still have sensitive plants outside? Bring 'em in!

Conditions will improve during the day Saturday, as the wind calms down and sunshine resumes. High temperatures should reach about 40 degrees. That's still way below November norms.

The warming trend continues Sunday, as temps recover to about 50 degrees. 50s are in the forecast for much of next week too — just below normal.

There are no significant rain or snow threats in the forecast over the next 7 days. Just bitter cold — bundle up!

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