The Bottom Line

The best word for Friday really is unsettled, with wet weather over part of New Jersey for most of the day. The weekend will be calmer and drier, although extreme heat returns to the forecast through early next week.

Friday

Early Friday morning, a strong thunderstorm formed and sat right over the middle of the state. It was noisy, and it was very wet. Parts of Middlesex and Monmouth counties picked up 3+ inches of rain, which led to overnight flash flooding.

That particular storm cell is long gone. But we have an overall soggy forecast for Friday. Scattered rain is likely from morning through midday, mainly in southern and coastal NJ. The risk of severe weather is low. Even the frequent lightning and thunder seems unlikely. It'll just be light to moderate rain.

By Friday afternoon, I think we'll dry out a bit and transition to sporadic, hit-or-miss thunderstorms. Those could contain pockets of heavy rain (1-1.5 inches), which may raise a localized flooding threat.

HRRR model forecast as of Noon Friday, as scattered rain transitions to sporadic thunderstorms. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

It will be cloudy. It will be humid. But it will not be hot. High temperatures will only reach the 80s across the state. It looks like we'll miss out on 90+ degrees for the first time in over a week (last Thursday). And it could be the last day in July without a 90+ reading somewhere in NJ.

Showers will exit for god Friday evening. As skies clear overnight, the temperature will fall to meet the dew point at around 70 degrees. As a result, patches of dense fog may form by Saturday morning. But hey, 70 is almost comfortable.

Saturday

A pretty nice summer day! Skies will eventually become mostly sunny, with seasonable high temperatures between 85 and 90 degrees. There won't be much of a breeze though, so you're really going to feel the warmth. (Of course, a light ambient breeze means the sea breeze machine can fire up along the Jersey Shore.)

The only potential hiccup Saturday would be a popup shower or thunderstorm. Our latest model run shows a little batch of rain around southern NJ around midday-early afternoon. Isolated and short-lived — I wouldn't let that slight chance completely interrupt your Saturday outdoor plans.

Sunday

Heat and humidity start surging again for the second half of the weekend. High temperatures on Sunday will hit 90 to 95 degrees — even the beaches will be hot. Skies will be partly sunny, and our weather looks storm-free.

Monday

Day #2 of extreme heat, as high temperatures shoot for the lower to mid 90s. There is a chance that dew points fall just enough to keep the heat index out of the 100+ "dangerous heat" zone. But it's still going to be an air-conditioner and stay-extra-hydrated kind of day.

Tuesday

Day #3 could be the hottest of the bunch, with thermometers pushing to 96 or 97 degrees. Once again, the heat index will flirt with triple digits. The day will progress from sun to clouds, as a front approaches from the west. And that will eventually lead to a chance of showers and thunderstorms Tuesday evening.

The Extended Forecast

The effects of that cold front will lead to a slight cooldown and (more importantly and more noticeably) a big drydown. We may still hit 90 degrees on Wednesday. But as dew points descend into the 50s, it will be a much drier and more comfortable heat. If long-range models are correct, that trend of pleasant summer weather could last into the first weekend of August.

Have yourself a merry little weekend!

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