The Bottom Line

The heat wave continues. We are going to "chew through the air" Tuesday. But heat and blazing sunshine will take a backseat to humidity and thunderstorms.

Cooler days are ahead, giving a welcome break to air conditioners and sweat glands. I think we'll have some mainly dry, relatively pleasant days ahead. (Specifically, Thursday and Saturday.) But the exact timeline of the upcoming cooldown, dry-out, and rain chances is tricky.

Tuesday

Temperatures will end up a few degrees lower on Tuesday, compared to the past three days. But humidity levels will be even more uncomfortable.

Tuesday begins with most temperatures already in the 70s - that's not cool at all. High temperatures should reach 85 to 90 degrees across most of the state. So yes, we'll probably hit 90 degrees somewhere, continuing the heat wave. And, as usual, Shore communities will automatically end up cooler.

On Monday, we had some spotty "popcorn" thunderstorms form in the hot and humid air mass. For Tuesday, the air will be "juicy" and unstable enough to allow for widespread thunderstorms.

Initial storm cells will probably form around NW NJ in the early afternoon hours, between about Noon and 3 p.m. Through the mid to late afternoon hours, storms will continue to develop and drift through northern and central New Jersey. There is a good chance South Jersey stays storm-free until the dinnertime hours Tuesday evening.

Even though thunderstorms will be numerous and loud Tuesday, I'm not seeing the parameters come together for a true "severe weather outbreak". Flooding rain is actually my biggest concern - if a given location sees over an inch of rain in 15 minutes, there will be some water problems. Gusty winds are possible. And frequent lightning too.

If a storm rolls through your neighborhood, it will cool things off temporarily. But the breath of fresh air will be limited, as the air mass will remain thick and tropical. Yuck.

Thunderstorms will pulse down after sunset, around the 8 o'clock hour. Lingering showers and storms may linger through the overnight. And patchy fog will likely develop, given the abundant ground-level moisture. Low temperatures will only dip into the lower 70s. Pretty muggy.

Wednesday

Again, we'll see high temperatures reach about 85 to 90 degrees. Dew points will stay in the 70s, keeping things steamy.

A few showers and thunderstorms will fire up Wednesday late afternoon, especially in South Jersey. I don't think they'll be as widespread or prolonged this time around. And once again, severe weather is possible, but not necessarily likely.

Thursday

Thursday is going to be our big cooldown day. But just how quick we cool down and dry out is still very much in question.

Since my last forecast, I've actually ticked Thursday's high temperatures upward. Even though a northerly wind will introduce cooler air Thursday morning, lower 80s seem to be a good bet around lunchtime. Humidity levels should be much more comfortable, as dew points fall out of the sticky 70s.

Both the GFS and Euro models paint a couple of rain showers over New Jersey. But I'm optimistic it will be a generally pleasant day, with partly sunny skies.

Friday

Again, there are more question marks than periods in the forecast here. The GFS model has been consistent about a batch of steady rain passing through New Jersey through the first half of Friday. The combination of clouds, raindrops, and cooler air mass would lead to surprisingly cool temperatures. Possibly stuck in the 60s all day?

The Euro is drier and therefore slightly warmer, closer to 70 degrees. That's still a noticeable flip to below-normal temps.

The Extended Forecast

I like Saturday's outlook. The chance for some showers is not zero. And the latest consensus shows below-normal temperatures, in the lower-mid 70s, on a northeast wind. Not quite beach weather. But as long as we get partial sunshine, it will be a good start to the final full weekend of Spring.

Sunday gets iffier. Clouds will be thicker, and I do see a higher shower chance through the daytime hours. High temperatures once again should settle in the 70s.

I anticipate a return to seasonable weather next week, with highs near 80 and good sunshine. 90+ degree heat probably doesn't come back into view until the Summer Solstice at the earliest.

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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