The Bottom Line

Any time I call the forecast "unsettled," you can picture me constantly shrugging my shoulders when trying to make an impossible forecast. With soupy air and a frontal boundary parked directly on top of New Jersey, pinpointing the exact timing, spread, and intensity of rain is very challenging. Thursday looks unsettled, Friday looks better, and then we face a mixed bag of weather for the weekend.

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Thursday

My Wednesday forecast admittedly busted in a couple aspects — strong thunderstorms and heavy downpours were confined to South Jersey, and convection did not persist through the overnight hours. We'll try again Thursday, with a similar (but different) weather setup.

Fog, clouds, and an isolated shower will start the day. And then we'll be watching for more widespread showers and thunderstorms to kick in shortly after Noon. Just like Wednesday, the air will be thick and humid, lending toward the chance of downpours and localized flooding issues. A precautionary Flash Flood Watch has been issued for the southern half of NJ from 8 a.m. to Midnight.

However, sunshine will be severely limited Thursday. And temperatures will be much cooler, with highs only around 80 degrees. That will limit the available energy for any thunderstorms that form, limiting the risk for severe wind and/or excessive lightning.

So, will everyone see heavy, flooding rains Thursday? Absolutely not — just like Wednesday, any pockets of inch-plus rainfall will be isolated. Will everyone get wet at some point? Probably not — central and especially southern New Jersey look the wettest.

Thunderstorm activity is forecast to decrease Thursday evening, leading to a cloudy night with only an isolated shower chance. Probably some fog overnight, with lows dipping to around 70.

Friday

Friday looks a little better, as dew points lower a few ticks. We'll see a mix of clouds of sun, leading to some periods of pleasant weather. However, I also expect a few showers and thunderstorms to visit the Garden State once again. The window for rain will be narrow, centered around the afternoon hours. High temperatures should bump into the lower 80s.

Saturday

Diving into the weekend, we'll try to squeeze out a dry day on Saturday. A couple models suggest a shower, but I'm going to remain optimistic. Partly sunny skies will accompany a stiff on-shore (easterly) breeze (10 to 20 mph). High temperatures will only reach about 80 degrees. And dew points could dip into the 50s, for at least NW NJ. Not quite fall-like, but possibly cool and comfortable enough to give your air conditioner a break.

Sunday

I'm less optimistic here. Another storm system will drive a batch of steady rain through New Jersey at some point. Will that rain fall over the entire state? Will it be confined to only Sunday? Can we salvage any part of the day, or will it become a total washout? Good questions that we don't have great answers to just yet. Once the weather settles down from the Thursday-Friday thunderstorms, I think we'll have better clarity on the weekend.

Monday & Beyond

Models trend drier for next week. And there are no 90s in the forecast for the foreseeable future! I've opted for a mostly sunny outlook with a popup shower chance for Monday and Tuesday, with seasonable high temperatures in the 80s. Our next storm system and chance for showers/storms looks to come around next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 11 is struggling to strengthen into a tropical storm, as expected. (Josephine is the next name on the list.) Forecast models are more and more resolving on the storm system curving out to sea early next week, before threatening the U.S. East Coast.

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

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