The countdown is on! We are now just 3 days away from a big surge of warm air, forcing temperatures upward to about mid-June levels. I am getting very excited about that big warmup — not just because we'll flirt with 80 degrees, but also because this is going to be sustained warmth. There absolutely will be some bumps in the road, little cooldowns and warmups through the rest of the month. But as the polar vortex runs out of steam, lows in the 30s and highs in the 50s will become unlikely. Finally.

Your Tuesday morning is starting with temperatures in the 40s for all but Sussex County in far northern NJ (30s). Tuesday actually begins about two and a half days of dry and generally sunny weather. However, a cool breeze will be our weather nuisance of the day, gusting out of the northwest up to 20-30 mph throughout the day. High temperatures will end up 10 degrees below normal, in the upper 50s to around 60 degrees. Feeling like early April, this will likely be our coolest day through the rest of the week.

Mostly clear skies and a calming wind Tuesday night will allow temperatures to dip into the mid to upper 30s across most of the state. (40-ish for urban and coastal areas.) That is cold enough for some patchy frost yet again.

Wednesday will be another bright, sunny day. Dry air will keep any raindrops away. High temperatures will improve slightly to the lower 60s. The Jersey Shore will be the cool spot (upper 50s?), as a light ambient land breeze allows for a sea breeze to set up.

On Thursday, highs will warm into the mid 60s. Skies will progress from sun to clouds Thursday morning. And models suggest a batch of rain showers will slide through the state around Thursday evening, between about 5 p.m. and Midnight. (Not a slam dunk though — NAM model says wet, GFS says dry.)

The big warmup arrives on Friday, as high temperatures surge to about 80 degrees. However, it will not be a perfectly pleasant day. It will be windy, with southwesterly gusts up to about 35 mph. (At least that strong land breeze will keep most coastal areas toasty warm — the exceptions will be the Delaware Bay shore and any barrier islands.)

Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy on Friday. And a line of thunderstorms is expected to develop Friday afternoon into Friday evening — let's say 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. So if you're out and about, enjoying the warmth, you will have to keep a close eye on the western sky. Given the heat and humidity, these storms may be on the strong side.

I think Saturday is the nicest day in this forecast. We'll see a mix of sun and clouds, and all guidance points to squeaking out a dry weather day. High temps will be slightly cooler than Friday. But mid to upper 70s away from the coast? Above normal and potentially spectacular.

By Sunday, our wind flips. The difference between southwesterly and southeasterly winds is pretty noticeable, especially this time of year when the ocean water is still quite cool (51 to 55 degrees). So the eastern half of New Jersey faces a (much) cooler day Sunday, with highs closer to 70 degrees. To the south and west, 80 will be a possibility once again. We'll enjoy partial sunshine (at least). And once again, we'll have to be on the lookout for late-day thunderstorms. (Warmth and humidity don't come free!)

As I mentioned, we should hold onto a warmer weather pattern for a while. Long-range models show overnight low temperatures in the 50s and daytime highs in the 70s (or 80s?) for most of the state for most of next week. In other words, it's going to finally feel like May!

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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