The Bottom Line

Happy Friday the 13th! This will be the fourth of five 90+ degree days in a row for New Jersey. This heat wave has been uncomfortable and even hazardous, with the heat index topping 110 in spots. But the end is in sight - cooler, drier air will arrive this weekend.

In the meantime, we face one more day of ferocious heat and two potential rounds of showers and thunderstorms, before things turn much more comfortable and refreshing. Saturday night and Sunday look fantastic.

Friday

As of this writing (5:30 a.m.), it is 81 degrees at Newark Airport. That is disgusting. A very warm start to another ferociously hot day.

In fact, I still think Friday's temperatures will be the hottest of the week. Because of the head start, with morning temperatures primarily in the 70s. And also because models have staunchly implied that humidity will slide backward ever so slightly. You'll barely feel a difference, as the dew point goes from something like 75 to more like 70. But drier air heats up more efficiently, so we have to take that into account for Friday's forecast.

My forecast puts high temperatures between 92 and 99 degrees across the state Friday. The only exception would be barrier islands, which will probably fall below that range. (Only slightly.) Although we tied a record high at Newark on Thursday (at 98 degrees), Friday's records are higher and probably safe.

The heat index will still pop into the triple digits across the board. The Excessive Heat Warning and Heat Advisory have been extended through 8 p.m. Friday evening.

An Excessive Heat Warning (violet-red) and Heat Advisory (coral) only run through 8 p.m. Friday, the last day of dangerous heat and humidity.

Friday's daytime hours look dry, with hazy sunshine and only a light breeze.

For the 5th night in a row, we do have to add a few showers and/or thunderstorms to the forecast for Friday evening. And yet again, there's a good chance that rain diminishes before reaching the Shore.

Overnight low temperatures will only fall into the mid 70s. Still pretty steamy.

Saturday

Our big transition day. But don't expect dramatic improvements until Saturday evening or so.

Saturday is still going to be a very warm and humid summer day. Just not as bonkers by the numbers. I expect high temps in the upper 80s to around 90. The heat index will probably push into the mid 90s — just shy of "dangerous" heat.

The "sweet relief" cold front will start sagging into NW NJ around Noon. It looks like spotty showers and thunderstorms will be possible from midday through the afternoon. Not everyone will see a storm, but it could put a (temporary) damper to outdoor plans.

The severe weather parameters for Saturday aren't great. But it is going to be warm enough and humid enough to get some torrential rain, gusty wind, and frequent lightning.

By Saturday evening, cooler, drier air will start to filter into New Jersey. (Starting in the northwest, ending in the southeast.) Dew points will drop dramatically from the 70s to the 50s (or even 40s). That is going to be some very comfortable and refreshing dry air, making for a fantastic night. (Assuming there are no lingering showers, that is.)

Sunday

What a difference a day makes. The second half of the weekend looks beautiful. As skies become mostly sunny, we'll enjoy low humidity all day. It will be warm, but not hot. Look for morning lows in the 60s (even 50s in the coolest spots.) High temperatures will only hit lower 80s - slightly below normal for mid August.

There is one potential wrinkle to Sunday's forecast. The aforementioned front is expected to stall just south of New Jersey. And that boundary could be close enough to allow some clouds and even showers to clip the southern edge of NJ - Cumberland and Cape May counties.

The Extended Forecast

I like what I see for both Monday and Tuesday. Partly sunny, lower 80s, with humidity levels no better than the "sticky" range.

Beyond that, our forecast will be largely dependent on the track of now-Tropical Depression Fred.

Latest stats and forecast track for Tropical Depression Fred, as of 5 a.m. Friday. (NOAA / NHC)

As of 5 a.m. Friday morning, Fred is skirting the northern coast of Cuba, heading toward the Florida Keys and the eastern Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Then it soaks the southeastern U.S. early next week.

The latest long-range forecasts show the remnants of Fred to be in our atmosphere around Wednesday or Thursday. That tropical moisture will be enough to produce some unsettled, rainy weather. But don't get the wrong idea - it will be far from a tropical storm by the time it gets here.

Somewhat more concerning is the tropical wave behind Fred, in the middle of the Atlantic. It's 2,300 miles away from New Jersey. But it has a track conducive to East Coast landfalls. We'll have to watch very carefully over the next 10 to 14 days to see how this thing develops and where it goes. The next name on the 2021 Atlantic hurricane list is Grace.

Once again, a friendly reminder to stay cool and stay hydrated. And have a great weekend!

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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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