New Jersey's weather will feel much more like July than May this week, with warmth, humidity, and persistent rain chances.

Here are your weather headlines for Tuesday, May 26, 2015...

Warm, Breezy, and Humid

The boardwalk in Belmar (Dr. Alan Stern)

We are coming off a beautiful Memorial Day Weekend featuring plentiful blue skies, low humidity, and climbing temperatures. Memorial Day Monday was particularly notable, as it was the first 90° day at Newark since last September.

Now that we’re beyond the “unofficial start of summer”, it’s appropriate that the very warm air will stay in place for a while... the next three days at least. Meanwhile, humidity will increase a bit starting tonight, and the warmth will get rather sticky and uncomfortable on Wednesday and Thursday. High temperatures will stay in the 80s, and the humidity will likely push heat indices to around 90°.

A cold front will approach on Wednesday/Thursday, and so we’re expecting a slight cool down for Friday/Saturday (highs should drop to about 80°). Another cool down will come from another cold front on Sunday - at the moment, next Monday looks particularly cool, with forecast highs barely reaching 70°.

Rain Chances

As I mentioned, the next few days look very July-like, not only because temperatures will be warm but also because of the persistent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Literally every day in the next week could feature raindrops somewhere in New Jersey.

The quick summary... The most active thunderstorm days will be Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. The days of the coming week with the lowest chance for rain will be Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday.

So today will be one of the less-active days. Any shower or thunderstorm activity today should be limited to northwestern New Jersey (mainly Sussex and Warren counties). Elsewhere, including the Jersey Shore, should stay dry under partly sunny skies.

For Wednesday, the models are currently hinting at two rounds of rain - one just in time for the morning commute (around 8 a.m.) and one just in time for the evening commute (around 4 p.m.). Sufficient instability could very well produce some rumbles of thunder and perhaps even a heavy downpour and/or gusty wind. Thursday looks very similar, again with the chance for widespread showers and thunderstorms in the forecast throughout the day.

Friday and Saturday will be the lull of the week, with only isolated showers and thunderstorms expected. If this forecast holds, it should spell a nice start to next weekend.

But another front will bring another round of potentially strong thunderstorms by Sunday afternoon. Furthermore, the longer-range models don’t show much change in the continuing chances for showers and thunderstorms. So it looks like we’ll have to keep the umbrella handy and keep a close ear and eye on the forecast.

And We Really Need the Rain

May 2015 is likely to go down as one of the warmest and driest May months on record for New Jersey. Month-to-date rainfall is currently standing about 2 to 3 inches below normal across the entire state. If we don’t get some serious rain soon, the drought conditions are going to get even worse.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced every Thursday for the entire country. The map is generated by assessing critical factors including short-term and long-term precipitation, vegetation health, surface water supply, groundwater levels, reservoir storage, and pasture/range conditions. It is a collaboration of experts from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and several parts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration umbrella including the National Weather Service, Regional Climate Centers, and State Climatologists.

The latest Drought Monitor for New Jersey shows an upgrade for northwestern New Jersey to “D1” - that’s the second lowest category, denoting “Moderate Drought”. As you might expect, such drought can have significant hydrological and agricultural impacts in both the short-term and long-term time frames. Let’s hope for rain soon - any upgrade above D1 will likely lead to lawn watering restrictions and potential crop failures. The next Drought Monitor will be released on Thursday - we’ll keep you updated.