With few opportunities for relief in the forecast, high heat and humidity will continue to produce uncomfortable, oppressive weather conditions across the Garden State.

Here are your weather headlines for Thursday, July 7, 2016...

Get Ready to Sweat

High temperatures on Wednesday ranged from the 80s in far North Jersey and along the Jersey Shore to a max of 96 degrees at Hawthorne, Passaic County. Yes, it was the start of our first widespread heat wave of Summer 2016. And yes, that means there's a lot more heat and humidity (and sweat) to come for New Jersey.

Thursday's forecast high temperatures are expected to once again climb into the lower to mid 90s. (Maybe 80s along the coast.) Remember, that's only what the thermometer says, and does not factor in humidity. That mugginess bumps the "feels like temperature" (heat index) into the upper 90s to 100 degrees. The worst-case scenario for Thursday? A high temperature of 96 degrees in SW NJ with a dew point of 72 degrees would push the heat index as high as 105 degrees. Yuck!

Obviously, it remains important to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks in this potentially dangerous heat. The National Weather Service continues an Excessive Heat Warning for the Philadelphia metro area, including Mercer, NW Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties, through Friday evening. Additionally, the NWS and NJ Department of Environmental Protection have also issued an Air Quality Alert (Code Orange) for Thursday. Air conditioning will be your friend.

Friday could actually tick a degree or two hotter than Thursday, with widespread 90s for the third day in a row. (That will make it an "official" heat wave.)

Despite a weak front passing through the Garden State Friday night, we'll have to endure one more day of fierce heat and humidity on Saturday. High temperatures will end up in the lower 90s, with a heat index still in the upper 90s to 100 degrees.

Relief Chance #1: Thunderstorms

Two little storm systems will push through New Jersey during this heat wave that could bring brief relief from the heat. (Although it will almost certainly remain sticky and steamy before, during, and after any potential rainfall.)

Our first (and highest) chance of rain will come Thursday afternoon and evening. Scattered thunderstorms will provide a brief shot of rain, and looks to be focused over the northern half of New Jersey. The temporary cooldown and potential drought relief would be wonderful. However, our atmosphere is incredibly juicy. That means the rain could become very heavy for a time coinciding with Thursday evening's commute. Flash flooding will be a concern as the rain pours down, even totaling an inch or two in spots. Again, the timing of these storms would be between about 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.

The next chance for rain will be associated with a backdoor cold front from Friday night through Saturday morning. This morning's models showed meager rainfall at best, but I don't want to rule out some shower and thunderstorm activity over the Garden State. (Again, especially considering how humid our atmosphere will be.)

Relief Chance #2: Less Humid Air

Following four consecutive days of high heat and humidity (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) most New Jerseyans will be craving a breath of fresh, non-stifling air. And the atmosphere will deliver on Sunday!

A dry cold front will bring slightly cooler, drier air by Sunday morning. As dew points drop into the 60s and maybe even 50s, you'll notice the difference immediately.

Although Sunday will be less humid and therefore much more comfortable, our weather will remain quite warm through early next week. Daily high temperatures for Sunday and beyond will top out in the mid 80s (upper 70s to lower 80s in North Jersey and along the Jersey Shore). As long as the humidity remains manageable, most of next week should feature pleasant summer weather.

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