The Bottom Line

Friday will get humid. Saturday will be hot. And then Sunday and Monday will be very hot and humid — that is an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous combination. We're talking about widespread temperatures in the 90s, with a heat index probably over 100 degrees.

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Friday

Friday will get steamier and stickier as the day presses on. There's only a hint of mugginess in the air this morning, with temperatures in the upper 60s (inland) to lower 70s (coast). We'll top out in the mid 80s Friday — certainly warmer than Thursday, and close to climatological normals for mid-July.

It will also be more unsettled. Look for spotty showers and isolated thunderstorms in the morning (through about 11 a.m.) Then breaks of sun through the middle part of the day. Then widely scattered thunderstorms will start popping around 3 p.m. Given our newly increased humidity, those storm cells could produce pockets of heavy rain, in addition to frequent lightning, marginally gusty winds, and small hail.

Any showers and storms should exit the Garden State by Midnight at the latest. Then clearing skies will join somewhat muggy conditions overnight. Low temps will only dip into the lower 70s by Saturday morning.

Saturday

Definitely hot and summerlike. Amidst hazy sunshine, high temperatures will soar to near 90 degrees. A sea breeze will keep the Jersey Shore cooler and more comfortable, closer to 80 degrees. Models are not showing any threat of rain or storms. I suspect Saturday will be the "nicer" day of the weekend.

Sunday

Thermometers go off the rails by the end of the weekend, as we have to ring some alarm bells for potentially dangerous heat and humidity. An Excessive Heat Watch has been issued for most of inland New Jersey from Sunday through Tuesday. High temperatures are forecast to reach the lower to mid 90s. I'll even so far as to say somewhere in New Jersey could hit 100 degrees during this heat streak.

The GFS model shows intense heat sliding up the East Coast, with widespread 90s forecast for New Jersey. (College of DuPage Meteorology)

I often refer to the heat index as the "feels like" or "apparent" temperature. It is a very important measure of human health impacts due to the combination of heat and humidity. The steps to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke are really common sense — take frequent breaks from the heat (ideally in air conditioning), stay extra hydrated, avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day (afternoon and early evening). But if you don't take care of yourself, your body can suffer dramatically from these downright dangerous conditions — and I don't use that word lightly.

On Sunday, the heat index will probably end up between 100 and 105 for much of the state — right on the edge of "dangerous heat" territory.

Monday

Still sweltering. Highs again in the lower to mid 90s. The heat index could sort to 105 to 110. There will be a chance of late-day thunderstorms too.

Tuesday

It will still be hot and humid, but slightly less brutal. Our latest forecast calls for highs in the lower 90s, under partly sunny skies. A popup thunderstorm is possible.

The Extended Forecast

I'm hopeful a midweek storm system will provide relief from the 90s and high humidity. Although every time I look at guidance, the heat and humidity look to linger longer and longer. Even when the heat settles down, don't expect a huge cooldown. After all, we are now in the hottest part of the year (about July 3 to August 3).

I hope you have an enjoyable and safe weekend! FYI, I'm taking a "mental health" vacation day on Monday — the CMDZ weather blog will return on Tuesday 7/21.

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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