As a brisk wind delivers much cooler, less humid air, the Garden State can look forward to some delightful autumn weather in the coming days.

Welcome to cooldown day! As of this writing, around 6 a.m. Thursday, most of the Garden State is still in the humid zone — sticky and foggy. Our cold front is running an hour or two behind schedule, but it will introduce a drastic change to our atmosphere by late Thursday morning. Just wait — you'll notice when the front has arrived.

A brisk northwest wind will pick up behind the cold front, gusting as high as 30 mph throughout the day. Despite a perfectly sunny sky for most of the day, our new cool air mass will prevent Thursday afternoon's high temperatures from climbing out of the 70s. (Lower 70s in North Jersey, mid 70s in Central Jersey, upper 70s in South Jersey.) The drop in humidity will be particularly glorious — this new air mass is ridiculously dry.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Maria is steadily moving toward the east-northeast, away from the U.S. East Coast. As the storm's out-to-sea exit accelerates, the Atlantic Ocean will finally calm down. We'll still see 5 to 7 foot waves along the Jersey Shore on Thursday, with a continuing high risk of rip currents.

Even though Maria is headed out and Lee is a non-issue, hurricane season is not over yet. This time of year, we need to monitor the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea for potential tropical development.

Back at home, the combination of clear skies, dry air, and calming winds present the perfect recipe for a cool night. Thursday night low temperatures for most of New Jersey are expected to fall into the lower 50s. In the coolest spots — the higher elevations of NW NJ, and the middle of the Pine Barrens — 40s are probable by Friday morning.

I think Friday is the real winner of this weather forecast. We'll enjoy sunny skies once again, with considerably lighter winds than Thursday. High temperatures will settle in the lower 70s across the state — that's right on the normal high for late September. Overall, Friday reads as a beautiful autumn day.

Early Saturday morning, a reinforcing cold front will push across the Garden State. Clouds are likely, and a few brief rain showers are possible too. By Saturday lunchtime, we should return to sunshine. It will be a breezy day, with even cooler air keeping high temperatures in the upper 60s. Saturday may very well be New Jersey's coolest day since early June. (It'll be close — you'll recall we had a couple of 69-degree days in August and early September.)

October begins on Sunday, as thermometers should recover to about the 70 degree mark. It will be yet another mostly sunny, dry, pleasant fall day.

The extended forecast puts high temperatures squarely in the 70s for Monday and Tuesday, potentially climbing to near 80 degrees by midweek. I could see us pushing even warmer and more humid by late next week.

As I've been promoting for several days, there are no significant rain chances nor any widespread frosts/freezes in the forecast for the next 7 to 10 days.

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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