NJ weather: Turning stormy, then heating up
The Bottom Line
There are two and only two weather headlines in the forecast for the next five days: Thunderstorms and heat.
A period of unsettled weather will kickoff Wednesday night, lasting all the way through Friday morning. There is a risk of thunderstorms, severe wind, and occasional downpours in that window.
And then thermometers will cook heading into the first weekend of June. Summerlike 90s are coming - our first heat wave of 2021 could come early next week.
I'll start by saying it will be a decent, mainly dry day across New Jersey.
Skies will be cloudier than Tuesday. Temperatures will be a degree or two cooler, generally in the mid 70s. A more prominent on-shore breeze will keep the Jersey Shore cooler still, close to 70 degrees.
And we could see a few showers and sprinkles on Wednesday too. Most of the rain activity associated with that wave will pass north of New Jersey. But a few raindrops will be possible - especially in the afternoon, especially in North Jersey.
Wednesday evening will be quiet, with lows of clouds. Overnight lows will dip to around 60 degrees. And widespread scattered showers will come into view after Midnight.
With a couple of rounds of rain and thunderstorms on the way, you'll find very different weather conditions during breakfast time, lunch time, and dinner time.
We'll start the day with a broken area of showers and thunderstorms, between about 2 a.m. and Noon. There could be some downpours and some lightning (the definition of a "thunderstorm"). But I don't expect anything too bonkers or intense from this initial round of rain.
From midday through mid-afternoon, pops of sun will emerge from the clouds. It's going to feel noticeably more humid too. High temperatures will spike into the lower to mid 70s. Fair warning: The warmer it gets, the more unstable the atmosphere, and the more precarious the next round of thunderstorms will be.
After about 4 or 5 p.m. Thursday, we'll be watching the western sky for a line of thunderstorms to develop. Severe weather parameters support the notion of strong to severe storms, especially as storms crash across the Delaware River into western New Jersey. Damaging wind would be the primary concern. Localized downpours are possible (if not likely, given the rising humidity). And an isolated tornado can't be ruled out - it would only take a little bit of "twisting" action in the atmosphere to get a spin-up.
Storm intensity will generally calm after sunset (8:30-ish). But scattered rain and thunderstorms are expected to continue through Thursday night.
Rain should wrap up by late morning Friday. (Although depending on which model you believe, there could be some raindrops around later on.) I'm optimistic skies will substantially clear through Friday afternoon.
The air mass behind this storm system is not going to be much drier or cooler by the time it reaches New Jersey. So I expect temperatures to spike to around 80 degrees late Friday. That's just the start of our big warmup.
After a mainly miserable Memorial Day Weekend, a lot of New Jerseyans are craving some hot, summery weather. Well, here you go!
Saturday looks mostly sunny and dry, very warm and sticky. High temperatures are forecast to reach the mid 80s.
Sunday gets even hotter, pushing to near 90 across most of the state.
The exception to the heat, of course, will be the Jersey Shore. Plentiful sunshine should allow the sea breeze machine to fire up. That will keep mainland beaches in the 80s. Barrier island beaches will be cooler still, surrounded by 63 degree water.
The Extended Forecast
The heat rolls on.
Lower 90s are likely Monday. And we could still hit 90+ on Tuesday too. That could make it NJ's first heat wave of 2021. (Defined as three 90+ degree days in a row.)
With the steamy, soupy air in place, we'll have to add a popup thunderstorm chance too. The next wide-scale storm system to swing through New Jersey won't arrive until late next week.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.