The Bottom Line

Wow, the last day of June. On Friday, we dive into July — on average, the hottest and wettest month of the year.

We are also approaching the big 4th of July holiday weekend forecast, of course. And we're working hard to zero in on when it will rain and (more importantly) when it won't. Saturday still poses the most problems of the weekend, although it won't be a total washout or total loss.

Meanwhile, above-normal temperatures and rising humidity will remind you that it most definitely is summertime. A few spots actually hit 90 degrees on Wednesday. We'll probably see a few 90s on Thursday. And definitely 90s on Friday. That's three in a row — our first heat wave since late August 2021.

Thursday

Another great slice of summer weather. I say that especially because humidity levels will remain manageable for one more day.

We're starting off the day with temperatures mainly in the 60s. The swath of Mercer and Monmouth counties that saw a shower on Wednesday are experiencing some patches of fog. That should mix out by 8 or 9 o'clock.

It's going to be a sunny, dry, and very warm day. High temperatures should reach the mid to upper 80s across most of the state. 90 is a possibility for inland areas. Meanwhile, a sea breeze will keep the beaches pleasantly cooler.

The NJ Department of Environment Protection did put out an Air Quality Alert for a few counties, due to elevated levels of ground-level ozone. Typical of hot summer days, it just means those with medical issues, the very young, and the very old should stay in air conditioning as much as possible.

Thursday night might feel a little sticky, as dew points start to rise again. Low temperatures will average 70 degrees through Friday morning.

Friday

Heat and humidity alert! High temperatures surge to the 90 to 95 range. And with a "blast furnace" southwesterly breeze up to 20 mph, I'm not convinced the sea breeze will keep mainland beaches much cooler. Get ready to sweat. (And please stay hydrated.)

Weatherwise, skies will be partly sunny throughout Friday. I do have to insert a chance for a shower or thunderstorm in the early evening hours, especially in northern New Jersey.

Saturday

Bottom line: We all get wet at some point. Thunderstorms may produce some heavy rain and/or gusty winds. Outdoor activities, including fireworks, may be in jeopardy. But the day won't be a total washout.

It looks like we face approximately two pushes of rain on Saturday. The first from late morning through late afternoon. And another in the evening and overnight. (I don't want to get too specific on the timeline just yet, as there are some significant differences among our forecast models.)

On the one hand, it's still going to be steady, with highs averaging upper 80s across the state. (Some 90s in South Jersey.) The heat and humidity will add fuel those storms, potentially pushing total rainfall past the 1-inch mark.

So you may find some beach, pool, and/or barbecue time at times. In between periods of rain, we'll see a mix of clouds and sun.

Sunday

The cold front that sparks Saturday's thunderstorms might slow and stall just south of New Jersey late Saturday night. That "highway in the sky" could set up the chance for additional showers through the first half of Sunday. Especially in South Jersey.

But that's not a guarantee. It would not take much for that front to shove south far enough to be out of our hair by daybreak Sunday.

So it's just a matter of when weather conditions start to improve: Sunday morning, or Sunday afternoon. Eventually, skies will clear. And we'll see pleasant, summertime high temperatures in the mid 80s.

Monday (4th of July)

Easily the best of the holiday weekend. While the chance for a popup shower is not zero, I favor a dry forecast. It will be mostly to partly sunny and very warm, with highs reaching back into the upper 80s. Humidity levels look to be scaled back, so it won't be too steamy or tropical.

The Extended Forecast

Driving farther into July, there is a clear common theme in the forecast: Heat. Daily temperatures are going to be above-normal and summerish for the foreseeable future. (Until mid-July, at least.)

There will be occasional shower/thunderstorm chances, as you would also expect this time of year. Next batch of rain looks to be a backdoor front in the Tuesday-Wednesday vicinity.

No monster storm systems. No severe weather outbreaks. Nothing tropical to worry about for now. Smooth sailing, as we enter the seventh month, third quarter, and second half of the year.

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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