Excessive Heat Warning: Near-record temps, horrendous humidity
You're not going to melt. You're not going to spontaneously combust. But you do need to take this weekend's extreme heat and humidity seriously. It's been a long time since New Jersey has experienced a heat wave of this intensity. And, even though there is relief in sight for early next week, you can rapidly suffer some significant health problems if you don't take care of yourself.
An Excessive Heat Warning has been issued for the entire state of New Jersey for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The combination of near-record heat and very high humidity will make for dangerous conditions.
You know the drill. Limit your time outdoors during the hottest part of the day (afternoon and early evening). Wear lightweight clothing. Stay hydrated. Take extra care of children, pets, and the elderly.
Pack your patience too, as this brand of heat can cause significant infrastructure issues. That includes power outages (no air conditioning = yuck), water main breaks, buckled train tracks, etc. Even the best air conditioners can struggle in such heat.
Friday morning is starting off ever so slightly more comfortable than Thursday morning. Temperatures are in the lower 70s, and there is some fog around — I've seen visibility as low as 3/4-mile. Early clouds will give way to sweltering sunshine Friday afternoon.
My latest forecast calls for high temperatures on Friday between 88 and 96 degrees. (The cool spots, as you might imagine, will be NW NJ and the Jersey Shore.) Record high temperatures are 100 at Newark, 98 at Trenton, and 98 at Atlantic City. Too close for comfort!
Of course, it's not just the heat, it's also that horrendous humidity that will make the air so uncomfortable and downright dangerous. The heat index, which I often call the "feels like" temperature, is a good indicator of human health. It relates to how the human body (along with animals and plants) reacts to steamy weather. The heat index for Friday afternoon could climb as high as 105.
I've been battling back and forth about which weekend day would be the hotter and/or more oppressive one. It's really going to come down to a degree or two. And it really doesn't matter if you hit 100 degrees or not — it's still going to be unseasonably, brutally hot.
So for Saturday and Sunday, I'm calling for high temperatures in the upper 90s to around 100 degrees. The heat index will end up between 105 and 115 — again, we're talking about the difference of a degree or two on the thermometer or the dew point.
Skies will feature hazy sunshine with big puffy clouds throughout the weekend. I can't rule out a popup shower or thunderstorm at any time, especially during the overnight hours.
When do we get some relief? Monday.
A cold front will deliver a batch of steady rain throughout much of Monday, although I hesitate to call it a total washout. It's still going to be very warm and steamy to start the day — 90 degrees is still a possibility in South Jersey. But temperatures fall as the day presses on, and humidity levels plummet too.
That front looks to stall just south of New Jersey, keeping the Garden State wet and soggy through Tuesday and perhaps part of Wednesday. I'm seeing below-normal temperatures for the first half of next week — a welcome change of pace from this weekend's intense heat wave!