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NJ weather: Ferocious heat and humidity ahead

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING for southwestern Atlantic and northeastern Cumberland counties until 3:45 p.m. A storm is moving east with 60 mph winds and quarter sized hail.

The next few days are going to be quite uncomfortable, with hot temperatures, high humidity, and widely scattered showers and thunderstorms in the forecast.

As you know if you follow my daily weather blog, I am very careful about the words I select to describe New Jersey’s impending weather conditions. Given our rising, above-normal, downright hot temperatures, I have no hesitation calling Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday “disgusting” and “uncomfortable” and even “oppressive”. This heat wave also looks to peak in “dangerous heat” territory on Thursday — again, I don’t use that phrase lightly.

The newly increased humidity will be noticeable the instant you walk out the front door Tuesday morning. Low temperatures across central and southern New Jersey have only fallen to the lower to mid 70s — not cool at all. So thermometers are already running high to start, and will soar to near 90 degrees across most of the state by Tuesday afternoon. As usual, the Jersey Shore will be the cool spot, with the beaches probably topping out in the lower to mid 80s.

Tuesday will be a partly sunny day, with a few showers and thunderstorms. Such stormy, wet weather will be the exception and not the rule.

We’ll continue the shower chance and scattered clouds Tuesday night. And it is going to be uncomfortably muggy — a theme over the next several nights. Overnight lows will only fall to the lower to mid 70s.

Wednesday looks to be the driest day of the week, with just a slight chance for a thunderstorm. It’s going to be hot though, as temperatures return to around 90 degrees.

And then along comes Thursday, which promises to be the hottest and most oppressive day of the week. Forecast high temperatures range from 89 to 97 degrees across the state. But the thermometer does not tell the whole story, as the combination of heat and high humidity can have big impacts on the human body. That’s where “heat index” comes from — yes, I often call it the “feels like temperature,” but it’s much more important than that. With a heat index north of 100 degrees for most of New Jersey, Thursday will probably qualify as “dangerous” heat. You may have to adjust your routine to stay cool, hydrated, and safe on Thursday. (Heck, Tuesday and Wednesday too.)

We could get a taste of relief late Thursday into Friday, as a weak storm system does two things: 1.) drops some potentially heavy rain over the Garden State, and 2.) flips our wind direction to an easterly, on-shore flow.

I’m optimistic we’ll miss the 90s on Friday, with forecast highs ending up somewhere between the mid 70s and mid 80s. It might be a bit wet at times, especially early Friday.

The early look of the weekend is still looking good! High temperatures should return to the mid to upper 80s, as sunshine resumes all-day Saturday and most of Sunday. The timing of our next storm system has pushed a bit later, with first raindrops holding off until Sunday evening.

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

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