Friday was almost pleasant. Saturday was bearable. But now, as thermometers surge upward and the atmosphere becomes more humid Sunday, New Jersey's heat wave is about to kick up a notch in intensity. And yes, if you don't take common sense steps and take care of yourself, conditions will be downright dangerous.

Magenta=Excessive Heat Warning, Orange=Heat Advisory, Grey=Air Quality Alert

An Excessive Heat Warning has been issued for the NJ Turnpike (I-95) corridor connecting the Philadelphia and New York metro areas. High temperatures in this area are expected to reach the mid to upper 90s on Sunday, with a heat index between 104 and 109 degrees during the hottest part of the day. The counties and timing that fall under the warning are as follows:
--6 a.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday for Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union counties.
--8 a.m. Sunday to 8 p.m. Monday for Northwestern Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset counties.

Additionally, a Heat Advisory is in effect for almost the rest of the state (generally away from the coast, and not at higher elevations). High temperatures under the advisory will top out in the lower to mid 90s on Sunday, with a heat index between 100 and 104 degrees during Sunday afternoon. The advisory is in effect for:
--8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday for Cumberland and Salem counties.
--8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday for Atlantic, southeastern Burlington, inland Monmouth, and Ocean counties.
--8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday for Morris, Sussex, and Warren counties.

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection has also posted a Code Orange Air Quality Alert for Sunday. That means the concentration of ground-level pollution may cause breathing difficulties for sensitive groups such as children, the elderly, and those with chronic heart or lung issues. If you fall into one of those groups, you should limit strenuous outdoor activity, especially during the hottest afternoon and evening hours.

As you can see by the advisories and the steamy forecast, there will be little comfort to be found on Sunday. Sunday night will be pretty uncomfortable too, with some thermometers stuck above the 80 degree mark all night. (Yuck!) Even though temperatures dial back slightly on Monday, the humidity will remain high and conditions will still be quite tropical.

I do not use the term dangerous heat often, nor lightly. This degree of heat and humidity is unusual and unseasonable, and important to take seriously given the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. As we discuss so often, common sense goes a long way. Dress for the heat, stay extra hydrated, take frequent breaks in air conditioning if you can, and take special care of your pets.

Keep in mind, the temperatures and heat index numbers I referenced above are taken in the shade. Blazing sun, cars, and pavement could easily add 20+ degrees to those numbers. Even a few moments in such conditions could lead to injury or worse.

Oh, by the way, there's still no cooldown in sight. Forecast guidance is currently showing a front in the Friday night-Saturday time frame. Hopefully that will knock back temperatures and dew points, and bring us a little bit of rain through next weekend. But given how the end of our ongoing heat wave keeps getting pushed later and later, be prepared to continue sweating for some time to come.

Stay cool and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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