From stormy to hot: Extended stretch of 90s on the way for NJ
Were you awakened by those noisy overnight thunderstorms? I sure was — luckily, it was just minutes before my alarm clock started screaming at me. The rain won't last long, and we're still staring down a multi-day stretch of summertime heat and humidity.
As of this writing (6 a.m.), the final band of steady rain is pushing west-to-east across the state. Parts of this line contain localized downpours, and thunder/lightning are even more pronounced than I expected. While the Thursday morning commute will be heavily impacted by wet weather, widespread flooding and severe weather are still not concerns.
Models show the heaviest, streadiest rain will exit the coast by around 10-11 a.m. However, I have to keep spotty showers and thunderstorms in the forecast through all of Thursday afternoon. At the same time, partial clearing seems to be a good bet by late afternoon.
Amidst the raindrops, it's going to be a seasonably warm, very humid, and breezy day with high temperatures in the lower to mid 80s. If the sun comes out for a bit, a couple of 90s are possible.
Skies will clear thoroughly and quickly Thursday evening. It's going to be somewhat muggy overnight, as thermometers are only able to dip to around 70 degrees.
The big heat wave really kicks in Friday. I'm still seeing hazy summer sunshine throughout the day, with highs soaring into the lower 90s across most of the state. Humidity will actually remain manageable on Friday, with dew points only in the 60s. As with most stretches of hot weather, the coolest spot will be the coast (80s). The worst heat impacts will be felt in urbanized areas.
The heat continues through the weekend, and humidity slowly ramps up again too. Saturday's forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and high temps in the lower to mid 90s. The latest guidance suggests Sunday will be slightly hotter and more humid, with most highs in the mid to upper 90s.
100+ is not out of the question this weekend for the hottest spots (along the NJ Turnpike corridor). Note: According to my research, we haven't hit triple digits in New Jersey since July 19, 2013 (at Newark).
Even if the thermometer doesn't hit 100, the heat index ("feels like" temperature) almost certainly will. That value factors in both the temperature and the humidity in the air, and serves as a great estimate of the human health impacts of a heat wave. When the heat index is at or above 100 degrees, the threat for heat stroke and heat exhaustion increases significantly. You have to take care of yourself in this kind of heat. Period.
So when will the heat break? Monday and Tuesday will be slightly cooler than the weekend, but I think we're still facing widespread 90s. The same is true for Wednesday, which is the 4th of July. By midweek, a frontal boundary will approach New Jersey — first with a chance of showers, then with a slight cooldown. The timing of that front is still very much up in the air. It's absolutely possible that we see some showers and thunderstorms on the 4th, so it's going to be very important to keep a close eye on this forecast.
Even after the front passes, the long-range forecast has above-normal temperatures continuing through next weekend too. Happy summer, New Jersey!