SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH in effect for all of New Jersey until 10 p.m.

I am actually at a loss for words. The extreme heat (and humidity) in this forecast is almost unfathomable. New Jersey is about to experience the hottest weather in 6 to 7 years (depending exactly where you are). And we're facing one of the most oppressive weekends (Saturday-Sunday) in recorded history.

Heat and Humidity

Rather than give you a long narrative with gratuitous use of the words hot, humid, and oppressive, here's the rundown of my latest temperature forecast.

—Wednesday... 87-97 (Heat Index up to 105)
—Thursday... 82-89 (Heat Index up to 95)
—Friday... 88-95 (Heat Index up to 100)
—Saturday... 97-104 (Heat Index up to 110)
—Sunday... 95-102 (Heat Index up to 105)

I do not use the term dangerous heat often, but this streak certainly qualifies, given such a long stretch of relentless heat and humidity. Look, you're not going to spontaneously combust. But if you don't take care of yourself — mainly by staying extra hydrated, and taking steps to cognizantly stay cool and healthy — you will get sick. Or worse.

Excessive Heat Warning

I'm not sure I've ever seen such a long-fuse Excessive Heat Warning here in New Jersey, in effect for the Philadelphia metro area (Mercer, northwestern Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties) from 8 a.m. Wednesday to 10 p.m. Sunday. Five consecutive days.

A Heat Advisory has been posted for 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday for much of central and southern NJ: Atlantic, southeastern Burlington, Cumberland, Hunterdon, Middlesex, inland Monmouth, Ocean, Salem, and Somerset counties. I fully expect this area (plus more) to fall under advisories and warnings for the weekend too.

Cooler at the Shore?

Not by much. Even the beaches will reach upper 80s on Wednesday and Friday, followed by 90s Saturday and Sunday. Ocean water temperatures are already running ahead of normals — those air temperatures will make the ocean feel like bath water.

Of course, the surf will also get pretty rough as the remnants of Barry pass by. A High Risk of rip currents has been posted for the entire Jersey Shore on Wednesday. Make sure you follow flags, signs, and lifeguard instructions closely.

The Remnants of Barry

There's another important weather story for Wednesday: the threat for strong thunderstorms and heavy rain, associated with the remnants of once-Hurricane Barry. Just to be clear, it's not a tropical storm anymore. But there's a lot of moisture and energy locked up in the atmosphere in this storm system.

A few isolated thunderstorms are possible Wednesday afternoon. The main event will arrive after 7-8 p.m. Wednesday evening, with bands of heavy rain sliding from northwest to southeast. It looks like the heaviest rain will fall in northern New Jersey, but I wouldn't rule out downpours anywhere in the state. 1 to 3+ inches of rain seem to be a good bet. Flash flooding and gusty winds will be concerns through Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

In fact, a Flash Flood Watch has been issued for most of New Jersey, from 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon through early Thursday morning. That watch includes the following NJ counties: Bergen, northwestern Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, inland Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties

Relief in Sight

Monday is your day. A cold front and associated batch of rain will open the door to cooler, drier air. The timing of that transition is still a bit questionable — there is a chance thermometers hit 90+ before the front on Monday. But still, know that there is an end to this extreme heat wave.

In fact, as that front stalls just south of New Jersey next week, our weather picture looks very different. Temperatures at or below seasonal norms, with persistent clouds and occasional showers and thunderstorms. In this scenario, heat and (especially) humidity would not be able to surge again until the following week.

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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