Tonight: Winds diminish. Clear skies and calm winds should allow for good radiational cooling conditions. Temperatures should fall below freezing everywhere in the state, with lows ranging from the low 20s in the colder spots to near 30 along the south coast.
Tomorrow: Lots of sunshine, very low relative humidity, and nearly calm winds should allow temperatures to skyrocket under the strong late March sun. Despite the cold start, afternoon highs should make it into the low to mid 50s. The south coast, especially east of I 91, may stay in the 40s, due to an afternoon sea breeze.
Tomorrow Night and Thursday: Clouds increase ahead of the next system, but will keep this period dry. It appears all the precipitation associated with a storm passing to the west of the state should stay to our west during both periods. With increasing cloudiness and some warm air advection, temperatures will not be nearly as cold tomorrow night. There also won't be as much variation, with radiational cooling not being much of a factor. Low temperatures should range from the upper 30s to the low 40s. Thursday will be much warmer ahead of the storm, but there will be two possible inhibiting factors: First, the clouds. Depending on how cloudy it gets and how fast, temperatures may not rise as much as models indicate. The second factor will be southerly flow. I'm hesitant to call this a sea breeze, because a sea breeze means a wind off the water because of a temperature difference between the land and the water. This will be an onshore flow because of the flow around the storm. At any rate, the net effect is the same- cooler temperatures near the water. Because of these two factors, I'm hesitant to go too warm on temperatures, especially right along the south coast. For now, high temperatures struggle to make it to 60 along the south coast, and get to the mid 60s further inland.
Long term- the weekend and beyond: First, it looks like we're in for about a 24-hour period of rain chances, although it likely won't rain all the time. The highest chance of rain will occur Friday afternoon. It is not totally out of question for a rumble of thunder to accompany the rain away from the coast, but any stronger thunderstorms will remain well south and west of the state. The winds will turn more westerly on Friday, so high temperatures will get into the mid 60s throughout the state.
On Saturday, the main issue will be the passage of an Arctic cold front. Right now, it appears this frontal passage will be at night. So temperatures will still have a chance to rise during the day. High temperatures should be in the mid 50s. At night, a very strong cold front approaches. A big issue with this front will be the wind. Similar to last night, winds will increase abruptly as this front approaches. Winds could be even stronger this time around, since the upper level jet streak is actually stronger this time. This will need to be monitored in subsequent packages. A burst of showers and squalls will probably also accompany this frontal passage. These showers will start as rain and could change to snow all the way to the coast, but no accumulations are expected.
On Sunday, strong winds will continue throughout the day, with a very tight pressure gradient behind the frontal passage. Temperatures will be significantly cooler. For now, I'll forecast high temperatures ranging from the upper 30s to the mid 40s, but these could even trend colder as we get closer! Low temperatures Sunday night will likely fall into the teens and 20s throughout the state.
The next issue is a potential coastal low, which could affect the state later Monday into Tuesday. Believe it or not, thermal profiles will probably be cold enough for snow all the way to the coast at the start and end of the event, since there will be Arctic air before the storm and another shot of Arctic air arriving after the storm pulls out. The main issue, as usual, will be the track of the storm. The latest European model takes the storm so far south that the state sees no precipitation. The GFS model takes the storm inland over New Jersey in a WSW to ENE track. That would be a mainly rain event at least south of I 84, with some snow possible at the start and end of the storm. North of I 84 could see mostly snow in this setup. Keep in mind, it is very difficult to pull off a significant snow storm in April. The Arctic air is real and that is the easier part of the forecast. In the middle of winter, a lot of things can go wrong that can prevent a significant snowstorm. In April, even more things can go wrong. However, there have been significant snowstorms in April before, and there will be more in the future. Whether or not this will be one of those times is yet to be determined. Here are a few maps to put this forecast into a graphical perspective.
Here is the GFS' wind profile for Saturday night, valid at 7 PM. This may not be the best frame to look at, as the core of the winds will probably pass over the state around 10 PM, but that frame is inaccessible, so this one will have to do.
Anyway, that's all for now, have a good evening!