A Hot and Potentially Stormy Day for New Jersey
While the heat will continue through early next week, an approaching line of showers and thunderstorms will bring temporary relief.
Here are your weather headlines for Thursday, July 30, 2015...
Storms En Route
Thursday's heat won't be quite as fierce as Wednesday's, as a combination of clouds and approaching rain will keep high temperatures and heat index values a bit lower. That rain, however, could have some significant impacts on your evening commute.
A cold front is creeping toward the Garden State this morning (more about the subtle cooldown later). Ahead of that front, a broken line of showers and thunderstorms has formed. That rain is forecast to arrive in the northwest corner of New Jersey around 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The showers and storms will then sweep southeastward through the late afternoon and early evening. Today's high temperature will likely occur right before the rain starts to fall in any given location... In fact, pre-frontal compression may cause temperatures to spike upward 5 degrees or more just as the rain arrives to cool things down.
Given the high moisture content in the air and the large amount of energy (instability) caused by the heat of the day, there is a decent chance these storms will be strong or severe today. While it shouldn't be a widespread, dramatic severe weather event, any storm that visits New Jersey today could produce very heavy downpours and marginally severe wind gusts (~60 mph). As I mentioned earlier, the timing for these storms is not ideal, coinciding with the evening commute. Not everyone will see rain, but the storms should be fairly widespread... The rain should fizzle a bit as the sun sets, so the severe weather chances for the southwest corner of the state are rather low.
The forecast models diverge slightly on the speed at which the storms and subsequent front will finish pushing through the state. I think it's safe to say the majority of the showers and storms will be done by about 9 p.m. And our skies will be completely dry by Midnight tonight at the latest.
As I have mentioned, Wednesday was likely one of the steamier days of this continuing hot stretch, with temperatures reaching as high as 96° in Central Jersey. I maintain reasonable confidence that we'll see 90+ degree temperatures somewhere in New Jersey every day between now and about Tuesday... if you're keeping score at home, that would be eight consecutive days of 90s.
There is a glimmer of temporary relief within this hot streak, and it's thanks to the same cold front that will bring us storms Thursday afternoon. Behind that front is a much drier and slightly cooler air mass. The drop in humidity will be noticeable Friday morning, as temperatures are allowed to fall into the 60s for the first time in several days. Even though high temperatures will still climb to about 90° on Friday afternoon, it will be a "drier" heat and therefore more comfortable than the moist, humid, tropical heat.
This weekend, humidity will slowly increase, amidst temperatures in the lower 90s. Truly "high" humidity stays away from our forecast from late Sunday into Monday.
Saturday looks sunny, hot and a bit breezy - overall, pretty good weather if you don't mind the heat. The only potential hiccup will be a smattering of rain showers Saturday evening.
Sunday's high temperatures will be a few degrees cooler than Saturday's, but still holding very warm under mostly to partly sunny skies.
The heat and humidity become a bit more ferocious on Monday and maybe Tuesday, before a cold front once again sweeps in somewhat cooler and drier air by midweek.