The Bottom Line

Rain, glorious rain! A cluster of thunderstorms delivered some much needed-rainfall to northern and central New Jersey overnight. Top rainfall totals were about an inch and a quarter. In some spots that's more rainfall in two hours than we've seen in the previous six weeks.

You will absolutely notice an increase in humidity in the air for both Thursday and Friday, which will be a couple of steamy, sultry, summery days. Each day will also feature a chance for late-day thunderstorms. (Likely more numerous and widespread on Friday than Thursday.)

A cold front is primed to sweep out the humidity just in time for the last weekend of July. I'm liking the forecast a lot, as sunshine breaks out with dry and seasonably warm temperatures.

Next week looks dry. And hot.

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Thursday

As of this writing (5:30 a.m.), all early morning showers and thunderstorms have exited New Jersey.

It will be a partly sunny, hot, and humid day. We're starting in the sticky 70s. Highs will push into the lower 90s Thursday afternoon. With the higher humidity in the air, the heat index (the "feels like" or "apparent" temperature) will probably hit the mid 90s.

It's not quite "the danger zone," but make sure you're staying cool and hydrated. As usual in the summertime.

I'm not sure how much of a sea breeze will be able to set up on Thursday. So mainland beaches will be pretty hot. Barrier islands will be the cool spot in the state. Agan, as usual in the summertime.

Given the juicy atmosphere, a few thunderstorms may pop up in the late afternoon and early evening hours. (Most likely after 5 p.m.) Storm cells may spawn off the sea breeze front, or a weak impulse riding through NJ. Any storms should be pretty isolated, so not everyone will see one. If you do, a brief period of heavy rain, gusty winds, and crazy lightning will be possible.

Beyond 10 p.m., dry weather will resume. Although it will be muggy overnight. Low temperatures will only fall into the mid 70s. Lingering clouds and some fog are possible overnight.

Friday

Increased cloud cover will keep temperatures down a little, compared to Thursday. But it will still be a very warm and humid day.

Look for highs around 85 to 90 degrees, under mostly cloudy skies.

Eventually, an approaching cold front will spark a round of broken to scattered thunderstorms. Best timing is "late day," with an arrival sometime in the afternoon or early evening hours.

Once again, not everyone in NJ will necessarily see a storm — although storm activity looks more widespread than on Thursday. And once again, strong to severe storms are on the table given the warmth (energy) and humidity (moisture) in the air.

Saturday

Behind that cold front, a new air mass will build in for the weekend. And it's a good one — slightly cooler and much drier.

So Saturday looks like a beautiful summer day. I will optimistically call the day mostly sunny. With dry air, dry weather, and seasonably warm temperatures, reaching the mid 80s.

Sunday

A few extra clouds and a few degrees warmer, in the upper 80s. Although a couple of models show a little shower or sprinkle, I've dried out the forecast. So it will be another pleasant (although sweaty) summer day.

The Extended Forecast

Temperatures will stay at or above normal for the foreseeable future.

We'll begin August on Monday with high temperatures near 90 degrees. 90-ish Tuesday, lower 90s on Wednesday. And then potentially getting even hotter for Thursday and Friday — long-range models show 100s are possible again.

Meanwhile, we're back in the summer doldrums for the first week of August too. Although we'll see a daily chance of a popup shower, it won't amount to much. So the dry weather, drought, dangerous heat concerns will intensify again. Our next chance of solid rain will come at the end of next week — not before.

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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