Two days of heat, humidity and thunderstorms at the end of the day

The essential

Rain, glorious rain! A cluster of thunderstorms provided much needed precipitation to northern and central New Jersey overnight. The highest rainfall totals were around an inch and a quarter. In some places it rains more in two hours than we have seen previously six weeks.

You will definitely notice an increase in humidity in the air for Thursday and Friday, which will be a hot, sultry, summery few days. Each day will also feature a chance for late afternoon thunderstorms. (Probably more numerous and widespread on Fridays than on Thursdays.)

A cold front is in place to sweep away the humidity just in time for the last weekend of July. I like the forecast a lot, as the sun bursts with seasonably hot and dry temperatures.

Next week promises to be dry. And hot.

Thursday

As of this writing (5:30 a.m.), all early morning showers and thunderstorms have moved out of New Jersey.

It will be a partly sunny, hot and humid day. We start in the sticky 70s. The highs will reach the lower 90s on Thursday afternoon. With the higher humidity in the air, the heat index (the “felt” or “apparent” temperature) will likely hit the mid-90s.

It’s not quite “the danger zone”, but make sure you stay cool and hydrated. As usual in summer.

I don’t know how strong a sea breeze will be able to set in on Thursday. Mainland beaches will therefore be quite warm. The barrier islands will be the cool place in the state. Agan, as usual in the summer.

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Given the juicy atmosphere, a few thunderstorms may arise in the late afternoon and early evening. (Most likely after 5 p.m.) Storm cells may appear on the sea breeze front or a weak pulse crossing NJ. All storms should be fairly isolated, so not everyone will see one. If you do, a brief period of heavy rain, gusty winds and crazy lightning will be possible.

Beyond 10 p.m., the dry weather will resume. Even if it will be heavy during the night. Low temperatures won’t drop until the mid-70s. Persistent clouds and some fog are possible overnight.

Friday

The increase in cloud cover will keep temperatures down a bit from Thursday. But it will still be a very hot and humid day.

Look for highs around 85-90 degrees, under mostly cloudy skies.

Eventually, an approaching cold front will trigger a series of scattered to scattered thunderstorms. The best time is “at the end of the day”, with an arrival in the afternoon or early evening.

Again, not everyone in NJ will necessarily see a storm – although storm activity appears to be more widespread than Thursday. And again, strong to severe thunderstorms are on the table given the heat (energy) and humidity (humidity) of the air.

Saturday

Behind this cold front, a new mass of air will form for the weekend. And it’s a good one – slightly cooler and much drier.

So Saturday looks like a nice summer day. I’ll optimistically call the day mostly sunny. With dry air, dry weather and seasonally warm temperatures, reaching the mid 80s.

Sunday

A few more clouds and a few degrees warmer, in the upper 80s. Although a few models are showing a light shower or splashes, I have dried up the forecast. So it will be another pleasant (albeit sweaty) summer day.

The long term forecast

Temperatures will remain at or above normal for the foreseeable future.

We will start August on Monday with high temperatures approaching 90 degrees. 90-ish Tuesday, lower 90 Wednesday. And then it potentially gets even hotter for Thursday and Friday – long-range patterns show that 100s are possible again.

Meanwhile, we’re back in the summer doldrums for the first week of August as well. While we’ll see a daily chance of a pop-up shower, it won’t amount to much. Thus, dry weather, drought, dangerous heat worries will further intensify. Our next chance for solid rain will come at the end of next week – not before.

NJ WEATHER CENTER: Your forecast for 5 days and more

Dan Zarrow is chief meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest real-time weather forecasts and updates.

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