Thursday NJ weather: Rain exits mid-morning, then the heat is on
The Bottom Line
Thursday is starting off wet, but will end dry and sunny. Meanwhile, heat is starting to build to the south — 90s will be as close as North Carolina on Thursday.
New Jersey's big warmup kicks in on Friday, with highs in the 80s. And then widespread 90s are in the forecast for the weekend. It will be New Jersey's hottest weather since last summer — August 27th, to be exact.
But it won't be warm everywhere. I suspect New Jerseyans will be flocking to the Shore amidst the heat and humidity. But they'll be shocked to find much cooler temperatures at the beach. Possibly stuck in the 60s. Blame the chilly ocean water and the sea breeze.
Eventually, a cold front will sweep out the heat and drive in our next chance of rain. That will not happen until Sunday night, at the earliest.
It's raining. Even pouring in spots. Rainfall totals overnight have ranged from a quarter-inch to a full inch. Healthy rainfall — which I really hope washes some of that horrendous tree pollen out of the air.
As of this writing (6 a.m.), wet weather continues for almost the entire state. There are some pockets of moderate to heavy rain, which may lead to visibility issues and slick roads through the AM rush.
But there are signs that the rain will be wrapping up soon. We've already seen rain taper along the western edge of New Jersey. By 7 or 8 a.m., we should turn the corner and find only light rain over the state. And then by about 10 a.m., give or take, we'll completely dry out as rain exits the coast.
Skies will slowly clear to sunshine through Thursday afternoon. So it's going to turn into a nice day. High temperatures will range from the upper 60s in North Jersey to the lower-mid 70s across the majority of the state.
Thursday night will be clear and comfortable. Low temperatures should bottom out around 60 degrees, with just a touch of humidity in the air
The warmup really kicks in Friday, as high temperatures soar to about 80 to 85 degrees for most of NJ. We'll see partly to mostly sunny skies, and completely dry weather. If you've been craving some summerlike conditions, here you go!
Ocean water temperatures are currently 57 to 63 degrees along the Jersey Shore. Chilly. So as a sea breeze kicks in on Friday, that cool marine-influenced air will keep air temperatures on the cool side for coastal areas. Probably only reaching the upper 60s on Friday.
The big question is how far inland will that sea breeze effect reach — and I don't have a great answer. Definitely barrier islands. Probably mainland beaches. And possibly westward a few miles to the Garden State Parkway corridor.
The hottest day of the week. Truly summerlike.
Inland highs are forecast to soar to about 90 to 95 degrees on Saturday. With dew points touching 70 degrees, it will be humid too. The heat index (the summer "feels like" temperature) may push into the mid-upper 90s. Not excessively stifling or dangerous, but it's certainly reason to fire up the air conditioning.
Historical record high temperatures on Saturday are 96 at Newark, 94 at Trenton, and 93 at Atlantic City (airport). It will be close. We'll be running almost 20 degrees above normal for this time of year.
The beaches will easily be the cool spot in the state again, with a 20+ degree difference within just a few miles. I'm hopeful we reach the lower 70s along the coast — not bad.
One of the worst aspects of hot, humid weather is when temperatures don't cool down at night. And I don't think it'll be too bad Saturday night to Sunday morning. As low as low temperatures fall below the 70 degree mark — and I think they will, barely — it will be a pleasant summer evening.
Two subtle changes for Sunday, compared to Saturday. First, it will be breezier. And second, clouds will steadily increase throughout the day.
We're still looking at about 90 degrees for most of NJ Sunday afternoon. Again, lower 70s seems like a good guess at the beach.
Interestingly enough, Sunday's record high at Atlantic City International Airport (in Egg Harbor Township) is 94 degrees. Set just last year, in 2021. Yes, it's the second year in a row with a heat streak over the weekend before Memorial Day Weekend.
Eventually, a cold front will put an end to the hot, humid weather. But model guidance keeps pushing the arrival of that front later and later. I don't think we'll have to worry about rain until late Sunday night (after Midnight), at the earliest.
The Extended Forecast
I have to be honest: I don't like how models are handling that cold front at the end of the weekend. They are showing the arrival of cooler, drier air Monday morning. But generally there's a lag in the arrival of any rain until later Monday, lingering into early Tuesday. I find it hard to believe that with all the heat (energy) and humidity (moisture) in the air, the frontal passage itself could possibly be dry and storm-free.
So for now, I'm including a "chance of rain and thunderstorms" in the forecast all day Monday. With the plans to refine that forecast over the next day or two, once the picture becomes clearer.
One thing about next week is for sure: It's not going to be 90 degrees anymore. Highs on Monday will come down to the 70s. Part of the state may get stuck in the 60s through the middle of next week.