As promised, Sunday was a ferociously hot start to July. High temperatures ranged from 85 degrees at High Point Monument (Sussex Co.) to 99 degrees at Toms River (Ocean Co.) and Oswego Lake (Burlington Co.) Newark and Atlantic City both hit a steamy 98. While there wasn't a single "official" weather station in the state that hit the triple-digit mark, the heat index soared well over 100 during the afternoon.

More extreme heat and humidity is in the forecast for Monday — day #4 of our present heat wave, if you're keeping score. While the rest of the week will be hot too, it will be more of the scaled back "run-of-the-mill summertime" heat rather than the "extreme batten-down-the-hatches" kind of heat.

Monday morning is actually starting out more comfortable than I expected, with most temperatures in the 70s. We'll heat up to the mid 90s for most of New Jersey by Monday afternoon. Those looking for relief will find some 80s on the mountaintops of NW NJ, and on the barrier island beaches at the Jersey Shore.

An Excessive Heat Warning continues until 8 p.m. for northwestern Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties. The heat index ("feels like" or "apparent" temperature) may soar as high as 107 degrees.

The Excessive Heat Warning is also still in effect until 9 p.m. for Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union counties. Heat index estimates in this area go as high as 105.

A Heat Advisory has been posted until 8 p.m. for Atlantic, southeastern Burlington, Cumberland, inland Monmouth, Ocean, and Salem counties. The difference between the "warning" and the "advisory" here is minimal — the heat index in our coastal counties could still climb to about 104 degrees.

While dew points will still hover in the 70s making the day uncomfortable overall, Tuesday will end a few degrees cooler. We'll see lower 90s for most of the state and 80s along the Jersey Shore. The heat index may approach 100 degrees — but again, it will be slightly more bearable than Sunday and Monday. With partly sunny skies, there will also be a chance for a bit of rain too. A few showers and thunderstorms are expected to popup in the 4 p.m. to Midnight time frame, especially in northern and western NJ.

Wednesday is the 4th of July, and the forecast is looking pretty good. Certainly summerlike! Skies will range from partly to mostly cloudy, with high temperatures on either side of 90 degrees. (Again, humidity will keep things steamy.) Model guidance does put a stray shower over NW NJ around Wednesday evening too — but nothing more than an isolated batch of rain.

Thursday's forecast looks very similar to Wednesday's — a mix of clouds and sun, with a slight shower chance. Highs again will bump to around 90 degrees for much of the afternoon.

While Friday will start out sticky and steamy, our grand cold front will arrive starting around midday. A batch of potentially heavy rain and strong thunderstorms will push across the state from Friday afternoon through early Saturday morning.

Behind the front will come slightly cooler and much less humid air. Just in time for the weekend! I'm seeing mostly 80s (70s along the coast) for Saturday and Sunday, with beautiful dry air. As long as that aforementioned cold front doesn't stall or "wiggle" later than the current forecast, we should have a real winner of a summer weekend ahead.

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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