Tornado Watch in effect for Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties until 9 p.m. meaning conditions are favorable for the formation of a tornado

Rain, rain, rain. We've already had a band of pretty heavy rain pass across New Jersey, and there's more on the way. In fact, I count 3 or 4 more rounds of rain throughout Friday. You will find some dry spots in between those bands. But the final round of storms on Friday pack a wallop with very heavy rainfall and strong winds possible. Umbrellas up!

As periods of rain slide through the state Friday, you'll make regular of umbrella and windshield wipers. (Don't forget: Wipers on, headlights on!) High temperatures will range from the cool upper 50s in North Jersey, to the warm lower 70s in southwestern New Jersey. That warmth will destabilize and energize our atmosphere, raising the concern for stronger thunderstorm cells late-day.

Friday's severe weather outlook paints SW NJ in a "slight risk" for severe wind and hail, and maybe even a tornado. (NOAA / SPC)
Friday's severe weather outlook paints SW NJ in a "slight risk" for severe wind and hail, and maybe even a tornado. (NOAA / SPC)

Friday's grand finale will be the one to watch, with a line of potentially strong to severe thunderstorms passing through the state from late afternoon to early afternoon. A few thoughts:
—5 p.m. to 9 p.m. looks to be the window for those strong storms. Things should start to pulse down after sunset (after 8 p.m.)
—That timing stinks, as the heaviest rain will fall during the Friday evening rush hour. Watch out for ponding and flooding issues on your ride home.
—Best chance for severe weather will be in the warm southwest corner of the state. Gusty winds (60 mph), small hail, and even an isolated tornado are possible. The Storm Prediction Center has part of NJ in a "slight risk" of severe weather — that's level 2 of 5, suggesting a 15% chance of severe wind, 5% chance of severe hail, and a 5% chance of a tornado.
—Rain will end completely around Midnight Friday night. Clearing skies, a stiff breeze, and chilly temperatures (maybe in the 40s) will ensue overnight.

We'll start the weekend with dry weather on Saturday, and a pleasant mix of sun and clouds overhead. Unfortunately, we'll also contend with a nuisance wind — out of the west, with regular gusts between 30 and 40 mph. High temperatures will end up cooler than normal, in the lower 60s.

Scattered showers return to the forecast on Sunday. I don't see anything heavy or steady, but raindrops may affect your outdoor plans regardless. We'll possibly see some clearing by Sunday late afternoon. High temperatures will range from near 50 in North Jersey to near 70 in South Jersey. (This is really the season of big north-south temperature differences, isn't it?)

Monday morning looks quite chilly. The higher elevations of North Jersey could very well experience a freeze, with morning lows near 30. (A frost is possible everywhere away from the coast.) The rest of the day looks fine, although temperatures in the lower 60s will be a few degree below seasonal norms. Skies will progress from morning sun to afternoon clouds to evening showers.

Most of next week looks unsettled, with at least isolated to scattered showers in the forecast every day from Tuesday through about Saturday. Temperatures will swing wildly too — highs could very well range from 40 to 80 throughout the state throughout the week. I don't want to pinpoint things too much, as this is a fluid, complicated forecast that will change day-by-day.

Luckily, there are no big storm systems on the way.

So it seems like a good time for this intrepid weatherman to sneak away for vacation! I'll be away for all of next week, as the Zarrow family heads to Disney World for some fun in the sun. Don't worry — in my absence, my colleague and friend Patrick Lavery will handle weather blog and weather network duties.

See you May 6th!

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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