The Bottom Line

I think Thursday was a nice - although hot and humid - summer day. Friday will end up slightly less pleasant, as the heat and humidity kick up a notch. The heat index will push closer to the triple-digit mark.

The main weather driver for the weekend will be a slow-moving cold front. Before the front, it will remain hot and steamy. As the front passes, we'll add a chance of thunderstorms and heavy rain to the forecast. And then afterwards, some relief from the heat and especially the humidity into early next week.

Friday

You know the drill. Steamy start. Sultry finish. Dress appropriately, take cool breaks, stay super hydrated.

We're starting off with temperatures well into the 70s across most of the state. (The exception is NW NJ, where we have some more comfortable 60s in spots.) Highs will pop into the 90 to 95 degree range Friday afternoon - probably our hottest day of the week.. The Jersey Shore will be up to 10 degrees cooler, as long as the sea breeze blows in your favor.

A Heat Advisory has been issued for most of NJ for Friday midday through evening. (The advisory covers everyone except cooler northwestern and coastal NJ, and below-criteria South Jersey.)

A Heat Advisory (salmon) is in effect for most of New Jersey during the hottest part of the day Friday.

In addition, a Code Orange Air Quality Alert has been issued for parts of the state Friday. That means the ground-level concentrations of air pollution will be potentially hazardous for sensitive groups. That includes the very old, the very young, and those with heart and lung diseases. If you fall into one of those groups, you should limit strenuous exercise and outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day.

We'll see mostly to partly sunny skies. Just like Thursday, a couple of spot showers or thunderstorms may pop somewhere at some point Friday. There could be tiny downpours. But any areas of raindrops during the daytime hours should be very limited.

A broader batch of rain is expected to clip northwestern New Jersey late Friday night. For most, it will be clear and warm and muggy again overnight. Low temperatures will only fall into the lower to mid 70s.

Saturday

One more ferociously hot day. High temperatures will reach the lower 90s for most of the state. Skies will progress from sun to clouds as the day goes on.

Saturday's daytime hours will be the best chance of sunny, dry weather. (Hot and humid too, of course.) Having said that, you'll have to be increasingly careful and vigilant about your outdoor plans as the day goes on. There's a chance for thunderstorms to popup starting around 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

The best chance of rain this weekend will come Saturday evening, after about 7 p.m. There could be a period of steady, heavy stuff through the overnight hours. Not everyone gets "soaked" necessarily, but someone in the state could see upwards of 2 inches of total rainfall.

Sunday

The forecast actually looks better. I think we could still see a few showers around Sunday, especially late-day. But it will be far from a washout. (And, in fact, some models do paint a completely dry Sunday - I'm kind of surprised at the drastic change.)

Skies will be noticeably cloudier. And temperatures will be noticeably cooler. Highs on Sunday should scale back to the mid 80s or so. Much more seasonable and bearable than our recent stretch of 90s.

More importantly, dew points will slowly drop from the 70s to nearly 60 as Sunday goes along. While I wouldn't call such air "dry" or "comfortable," it will be a marked improvement from the sticky, steamy conditions of the rest of this week.

Monday & Beyond

Although sunshine will be limited early next week, I like what I see. Morning lows in the 60s. Afternoon highs no hotter than the lower-mid 80s. Limited shower chances, with nothing widespread or particularly heavy until about Friday. You really can't ask for much more than that in mid-summer.

The tropics remain quiet. Some long-range models hint at something crawling up the East Coast toward the end of July. But you may as well flip a coin to get that forecast, since it's so far off.

Have a great weekend! Stay cool!

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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