Thursday and Friday will feature sunshine and above-normal temperatures in the 80s, before a cooldown to more autumn-like conditions this weekend.

Here are your weather headlines for Thursday, September 22, 2016...

Falling into Autumn

The autumnal equinox occurs at 10:21 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday. (Astronomically, that time represents when the sun is directly over the Earth's Equator.) As we bid farewell to summer and welcome the fall season, we'll keep pleasant, summertime temperatures. But only for now.

Dew points and humidity have been on a steady decline over the past 24 hours. That has allowed temperatures across most of the Garden State to fall into the 50s for Thursday morning. While South Jersey may hold on to some stubborn high cirrus clouds Thursday, the rest of New Jersey should enjoy abundant sunshine. High temperatures are forecast in the 80 to 85 degree range. So, very similar to yesterday, but with more sunshine and less humidity. Normal highs are in the mid 70s right now, so we'll hold steady about 5 to 10 degrees above normal for late September.

Friday gets even warmer, with highs in the mid 80s. Models suggest temperatures may spike to 88 or 89 degrees for part of the state by Friday afternoon. I think record highs will be safe.

Falling Temperatures

Early Saturday morning, a backdoor cold front will sweep through New Jersey. We call it a "backdoor" front, because the cool air will advance in an unusual direction (from northeast to southwest).

As the front pushes through, a few isolated showers will be possible, mainly in North Jersey. Don't hold your breath though - any rain will be geographically limited and will be very light.

More importantly, the front will deliver the coolest and driest air of the season so far. Even as skies clear to sunshine by Saturday afternoon, temperatures will struggle to warm past the lower 70s across New Jersey.

Sunday gets even cooler, with afternoon highs only in the upper 60s to around 70.

Even more noticeable will be the chilly morning low temperatures for early next week. Sunday morning, Monday morning, and beyond may bring widespread 40s to at least part of the Garden State. 40s!

Falling Rain?

Nope. The very dry forecast continues for New Jersey. Aside from Saturday's shower chance and another slight rain chance midweek next week, Mother Nature will not help out deficit at all in the next 7 to 10 days. The newest U.S. Drought Monitor will be issued Thursday mid-morning. I don't expect good news, and anticipate a majority of New Jersey will remain in Moderate Drought.

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