Heavy rain, damaging winds, frequent lightning, and an isolated tornado will be possible as powerful thunderstorms push through the Garden State.

A Tornado Watch has been issued for Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer and Salem counties until 11 p.m. due to the threat of heavy rain showers, scattered wind gusts up to 55 MPH, quarter sized hail, and isolated tornadoes. UPDATE, 7:45 p.m.: Te Watch now includes Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union counties until 2 a.m. While the storms will weaken further east, the risk of very heavy rain and potentially damaging winds will exist overnight.

A watch serves as a heads-up to potentially dangerous weather within the next six to eight hours. If a warning is issued, it will be important to seek shelter in a sturdy building immediately.

The High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model forecast as of 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, showing heavy thunderstorm activity developing over New Jersey. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

Unfortunately, the timing of this nasty weather is poor. These storms will hit the Garden State not only during the evening commute, but also at night. The latest mesoscale models specifically show the strongest thunderstorms will impact New Jersey between approximately 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.

A wind advisory is also in effect for Monmouth, Ocean, southeastern Burlington, Atlantic, and Cape May counties from 6 p.m. to Midnight. Non-thunderstorm wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph will be possible.

Dan Zarrow is the Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.