SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING until 8:30 p.m. for Hunterdon, Morris, SE Sussex, central Warren and Somerset counties for a storm moving east at 35 mph with wind gusts to 60 mph

The Summer Solstice doesn't officially hit until Thursday morning (at 6:07 a.m.) but we've got a real taste of summertime heat and humidity on the way for your Monday. It will be close to the hottest day of the year (going head-to-head against May 3) — and almost certainly our fifth 90+ degree day of 2018.

Amidst some patchy fog, Monday morning temperatures are in the upper 60s to around 70 degrees. Our weather forecast include a hazy mix of sun and clouds throughout Monday. High temperatures will reach the lower to mid 90s for most of New Jersey. Higher elevations and the Jersey Shore will end up in the 80s. The heat index, also known as the "feels like" or "apparent" temperature, will peak near 100 degrees Monday afternoon.

So a Heat Advisory has been issued for most of New Jersey, away from the coast. Here are the details:
--11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, inland Monmouth, Morris, inland Ocean, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties
--Noon to 8 p.m. for Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union counties
--NO advisory for Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, coastal Monmouth, coastal Ocean, Salem

Whether or not you fall under an advisory is pretty much a technicality — it's going to be a hot and humid day across New Jersey! A few schools have even decided to close early due to the sultry weather forecast.

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection has also issued a "Code Orange" Air Quality Alert for New Jersey. Concentrations of ground-level air pollution may become unhealthy for sensitive groups, including the very old, the very young, and those with heart/lung issues.

Obviously, unlike a blizzard or severe thunderstorm, you don't need to batten down the hatches and duck and cover during extreme heat events. I always advocate for common sense — dress for the heat, take frequent breaks (in air conditioning, if possible), and stay extra hydrated. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are very serious, but preventable.

A few popup showers and thunderstorms will be possible in NW NJ from Monday afternoon through Monday evening.

Monday night is going to be steamy and uncomfortable, as low temperatures only dip into the mid 70s at the coolest. As our next cold front approaches New Jersey, a round of showers is expected early Tuesday morning.

Behind the front, humidity will drop steadily throughout Tuesday, making things much more comfortable and breathable. It will still be a warm day, with highs in the mid to upper 80s. Could we see a couple of 90s, making it an official 3-day heat wave? Sure. But it looks like that will be the exception, and not the rule. Skies will be partly sunny, making for a pretty nice summery day.

On Wednesday, skies will become mostly cloudy, helping to cool temperatures further. Look for highs around the lower 80s. In addition, both the GFS and Euro models show our next batch of rain pushing into the Garden State Wednesday afternoon, and potentially lasting through early Thursday morning. I'm not incredibly confident about the timing and impacts of this rainfall. But I do realize the importance of the forecast, given the countless graduation and "moving up" ceremonies going on across the state this week.

It appears that we'll break back into pleasant, sunny, warm, dry weather for Thursday and Friday. High temperatures will hold steady in the lower 80s.

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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