Watch Out: Potentially Dangerous Heat and Humidity in NJ, Will Feel Like 100
The combination of above normal temperatures and high humidity will be potentially dangerous over the next several days for the entire Garden State.
If you've been hankering for a taste of real New Jersey summertime weather, have I got a forecast for you!
The past few days have been quite warm across the Garden State, with 80+ degree highs every day of July so far. But now, we're diving into a multi-day period of potentially dangerous heat. Yes, dangerous. It's not your run-of-the-mill "I can deal with this because it's summer" heat and humidity. It's your "if you don't take care of yourself, you're going to suffer" kind of heat and humidity.
Wednesday will begin with hazy sunshine, with scattered cumulus clouds building through the afternoon hours. Thermometers will peak in the lower to mid 90s. But that doesn't tell the whole story, as the high humidity prevents the human body from sweating and regulating its temperature. So we have the "heat index" or "feels like temperature" or "apparent temperature" that better describes the effect the heat has on people (and animals too, by the way). The heat index is expected to climb into the upper 90s to near 100 degrees today.
You need to dress for the weather, stay hydrated, and take frequent breaks from the heat. And please follow the same safety rules for your pets.
Due to the potentially dangerous heat and humidity, the National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning from 11 a.m. Wednesday through Friday evening for the Philadelphia metro area. On the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, that includes urbanized areas of Mercer, Northern Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties. This warning is an upgrade to the Heat Advisory that had been issued previously.
I often say that the big problem from heat waves does not come from daytime heat, but rather from not cooling down at night. Wednesday night's low temperatures will stay above 70 degrees for almost the entire state. Call it warm, muggy, sticky, steam, or stifling - it's going to be an uncomfortable summer night overall.
Furthermore, the warm low temperatures will set us up for another hot, humid day on Thursday. High temperatures will again reach into the 90s, with the heat index again near 100 degrees.
Even the Jersey Shore beaches will be feeling the heat and humidity this week, by the way. Luckily, ocean temperatures are hovering in the upper 60s, so you'll have an easy way to cool off.
There will be a chance for a thunderstorm on Thursday afternoon. While there will be plentiful instability (energy) in the atmosphere, there won't be a spark to initiative those storms. So it'll be a coin flip.
The somewhat better chance for rain will come on Friday, as scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected to pass through at least part of the Garden State. At the moment, the models show this rain is most likely in North Jersey - but such a definitive forecast is highly uncertain and subject to change. Where it rains on Friday, temperatures should stay at least a little cooler. But we'll probably see more 90s somewhere in NJ on Friday, making it an official "heat wave". (A heat wave is defined as 3+ days of 90+ degree temperatures.)
There are signs toward more comfortable weather arriving for the weekend, as drier air potentially drops humidity levels. At the moment, I'm still going with a very warm forecast with upper 80s to lower 90s on Saturday and mid 80s on Sunday. At least this very summery weekend looks dry and storm-free.