Heat, humidity, and storm chances build to a crescendo in NJ
2:57 p.m. - A Tornado Warning has been issued for central Warren County until 3:15 p.m. A severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over Roxburg, PA 10 miles northeast of Easton.
3:05 p.m.UPDATE - A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for Essex, Hudson, Union, Bergen, Passaic and Morris counties along with Sussex and Warren counties until 7 p.m. for scattered stong or severe thunderstorms expected to develop early Thursday afternoon with damaging winds and isolated large hail.
High temperatures will peak in the 90s for most of the Garden State on both Thursday and Friday.
Here are your weather headlines for Thursday, July 14, 2016...
Extreme Heat and Humidity
We're heading back into the "dangerous" heat zone, New Jersey. Hot air will combine with suffocating, increasing humidity to make for quite an uncomfortable afternoon. High temperatures are forecast to reach between 87 and 95 degrees Thursday - just about everyone outside of NW NJ and away from the coast will see 90+. With dew points rising into the lower 70s (at least), the math shows the heat index may climb as high as 106 by Thursday afternoon. Whew - get ready to sweat (and/or melt) outside!
In response to the increased risk for heat-related illness, the National Weather Service has snapped into action. An Excessive Heat Warning will be in effect from Noon to 8 p.m. Thursday for Mercer, NW Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties. A less-severe Heat Advisory has been issued for the rest of New Jersey, with the exception of Sussex and Western Passaic counties. (Far North Jersey will far just shy of official advisory criteria.)
Additionally, a line of thunderstorms may form in the humid environment Thursday afternoon. Similar to the past couple of days, any storms that do form will likely carry a period of torrential downpour and possibly some gusty winds. While this storm chance is far from a sure bet, it will be a good idea to keep an eye on the sky (and an ear open for thunder) between about 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday.
Friday gets hotter, but humidity falls slightly. The end result is practically the same: high temperatures in the lower to mid 90s, with widespread heat indices in the triple digits.
You know the drill... Stay hydrated and take frequent breaks from the heat. Please especially watch out for your pets, the young, and the old.
Weekend Question Marks
What do we know about the weekend? It will remain very warm and humid. Forecast highs will be on either side of 90 degrees on Saturday, with somewhat cooler mid 80s expected on Sunday. Not terrible, and it won't be as oppressive as Thursday and Friday.
However, there will be a front "in the neighborhood" this weekend. A "front" is simply the boundary between two air masses, which can often provide a spark or highway for stormy weather. It's unclear weather this front will stall over New Jersey, or near New Jersey - the ultimate outcome will dictate how widespread rain may become.
So for now, we have showers and thunderstorms in the forecast for Saturday, especially for the southern half of New Jersey. That rain may be a bit persistent and somewhat heavy at times.
Sunday looks considerably drier, clearer, and ever so slightly cooler.
Any Relief Next Week?
The precise forecast for the beginning of next week will depend highly on the actions of the "neighborhood" front this weekend. The current thinking is that our heat, humidity, and almost daily storm chances will end by midweek. Specifically, a drier air mass is forecast to take over New Jersey on Wednesday, which would lead to much more comfortable conditions at least temporarily. Keep fingers cross for now, and we'll keep you updated as the forecast continues to evolve.