Whew, it feels downright tropical out there! According to the NJ Weather Network, High temperatures on Wednesday ranged from 84 degrees (at West Milford, Passaic County and Harvey Cedars, Ocean County) to 98 degrees (at Oswego Lake, Burlington County). Of course, the intense heat was followed by some intense thunderstorms. A swath of North Jersey saw rainfall totals on the order of 2 to 3+ inches, along with pockets of flash flooding.

The heaviest rain is behind us now, and temperatures will be tempered on Thursday. But we can't ignore the extreme heat wave that coming up for the upcoming weekend, with the hottest temperatures New Jersey has seen in several years.

Thursday morning is starting off steamy, with temperatures in the 70s. High temps will be limited to the mid 80s Thursday afternoon. But when you factor in the very high humidity, the heat index ("feels like" temperature) could reach 95 degrees. Uncomfortable.

GFS model temperature forecast for Thursday afternoon, showing 80s across New Jersey. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

In addition, scattered showers will continue to impact the Garden State Thursday. Model guidance suggest things really get fired up in the afternoon hours, with stronger thunderstorms and pockets of heavy rain possible once again. Rain chances will fade around Midnight Thursday night.

HRRR model forecast as of Thursday afternoon, showing thunderstorms firing up across the Garden State. (College of DuPage Meteoorlogy)

Heat and humidity surge again Friday, as high temperatures return to the lower to mid 90s (away from the coast). With dew points still in the 70s, the math puts our heat index as high as 105 degrees. An isolated thunderstorm will be possible Friday evening — best chance is far northern NJ.

As we've been discussing for days, conditions this weekend are going to be downright dangerous. Saturday's high temperature will be very close to the 100-degree mark. Even the Jersey Shore will pop well into the 90s. Top heat index numbers will be about 110 to 115. Skies appear partly sunny, and I can't rule out a popup thunderstorm at any time in that hot, humid air mass. (Especially if a prominent sea breeze front sets up, that could serve as the impetus for a few tiny thunderstorms.)

More of the same for Sunday, with sweltering sunshine, highs near 100, and a heat index around 105 to 110.

An Excessive Heat Warning continues for the Philly metro area — Mercer, NW Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties — until Sunday evening.

The rest of the state now falls under an Excessive Heat Watch from Noon Friday through Sunday evening. That will almost certainly be upgraded to a warning before the hottest weather arrives.

Yearning for cooler weather? The end of this extreme heat wave is in sight! A batch of rain Sunday night will precede a cold front on Monday. That will finally open the door to cooler, much less humid air.

But here's the thing. That front is going to stall (get stuck) just south of New Jersey, and serve as a highway for clouds and rain for much of the week. I'm actually thinking temperatures will be held below seasonal normals, closer to 80 degrees. What a difference from this week's intense heat and humidity!

Don't think we're done with heat and humidity after this week though. Still a lot more summer to come...

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