Heat, Humidity, and Thunderstorms – it is August, After All
Feelin' hot hot hot! We're having a heat wave! Love is like a heat wave! Etc, etc, etc. High temperatures on Sunday ranged from 83 degrees at High Point (Sussex County) to a scorching 95 degrees at Mansfield Township (Burlington County). This was the start of a string of 90+ degree days that could reach 6 or 7 consecutive days by the end of the week.
Monday actually looks like the hottest day of the week. We're starting off in the lower 70s across most of New Jersey — certainly warm, but less oppressive than the steamy, stifling upper 70s of last week. Thermometers will rise into the upper 80s (far north, coast), lower 90s (most of NJ), and mid 90s (urban areas, I-295 corridor). Yes, even the beaches are going to be warm and toasty again, with a light sea breeze keeping the truly extreme heat (and the bugs) at bay.
As we flirt with "dangerous heat" territory, a Heat Advisory has been issued for most of New Jersey during the heat of the day. The heat index ("feels like" temperature) will soar to about 100 degrees. This is the kind of day when you have to be cognizant of how extreme the combination of heat and humidity will be, leading to an increased risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Dress for the weather (lightweight, lightly colored clothing). Take frequent breaks, ideally in air conditioning. And stay extra hydrated.
Here are the official advisory details:
--Noon to 7 p.m. Monday... Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Sussex, Warren
--Until 8 p.m. Tuesday... Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union counties.
--No Advisory... Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem counties
A "Code Orange" Air Quality Alert is in effect for Monday as well, only for Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer, and Middlesex counties. That means the heat will contribute to elevated levels of ground-level air pollution, which could make the air unhealthy for sensitive groups. That includes children, the elderly, and those suffering from heart and lung diseases (including asthma). If you fall into one of those categories, you'd be wise to limit outdoor activity during the heat of the day.
There is a slight chance for a popup thunderstorm late-day Monday, as our atmosphere destabilizes in the hours before sunset. Anything that pops will be very isolated — 99+ percent of the Garden State will stay dry all day.
Monday night won't be cool in the slightest. With a few clouds overnight, low temps will only fall into the lower 70s for most of the state. In more urbanized areas, the concrete and asphalt literally cause temperatures to stay a bit warmer, in the mid 70s.
We'll see widespread lower 90s again on Tuesday, as skies progress from sun to clouds. An isolated shower is possible during the day, with a few showers and thunderstorms possible Tuesday evening. The coverage of rain and storms will be greater on Tuesday than Monday, and there's a slight chance for a strong or severe storm cell as well.
I'm calling Wednesday mostly cloudy, as the heat and humidity continue. High temps will once again reach the lower 90s for the vast majority of the state. A cold front will likely spark a line of thunderstorms around Wednesday night. The wettest, stormiest weather should be limited to the northern half of the state, but South Jersey will probably see at least a few showers.
The air mass behind that front will be ever-so-slightly cooler and less humid. But thermometers will still flirt with 90 degrees on Thursday. Skies should become mostly sunny again by Thursday afternoon.
More of the same for Friday. Partly sunny, highs near 90.
At the moment, models are suggesting a more unsettled weather pattern returning for the weekend. There will probably be a period of wet, potentially stormy weather in the middle of the weekend — most likely Saturday afternoon and evening. But I will not hazard a more confident timing or impacts forecast until we get closer.
Be smart, stay safe, and enjoy the heat!