Monday was not a good weather day. The atmosphere was like a soggy sponge, filled with humidity. That led to a suffocating, sweltering day. And also fueled some super-soaker thunderstorms. In northeastern New Jersey, around Bergen and Essex counties, rainfall totals topped 3 inches.
It was also the first of 7 or 8 days in a row where temperatures in New Jersey exceed 90 degrees. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, our latest heat wave has begun.
And there will be little relief over the next week. Humidity will surge again Wednesday into Thursday, putting us on the edge of "dangerous" heat. While a popup thunderstorm is possible on Thursday, our next widespread chance of rain won't arrive until early next week.
You know the drill: Dress for the heat, stay extra hydrated, and air conditioning is your friend.
I thought it felt a little more bearable when I walked outside early Tuesday morning. But the numbers still paint a warm and sticky start to another hot summer day.
A weak cold front is pushing in a slightly drier air mass. Any reduction in the ridiculous humidity is a good thing. Dew points will bottom out in the 60s Tuesday.
High temperatures on Tuesday will reach the lower 90s across almost the entire state. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few thermometers reach as high as 95.
Unfortunately, you won't find much relief at mainland beaches. The prominent westerly breeze (up to 20 mph) will probably prevent a sea breeze from setting up. That means the only spots along the Jersey Shore that have a chance of not hitting 90 degrees will be barrier islands and the Delaware bay shore.
It will be a mostly sunny and dry day. No risk of rain nor storms.
Tuesday night will be clear and quiet, although muggy. Lows will only drop into the lower 70s. (Remember, one of the most grueling parts of a heat wave is when we do not cool down enough at night.)
Humidity will tick upward. Temperatures will be a couple degrees hotter. And that means our heat wave kicks up a notch.
In fact, the National Weather Service has already posted a Heat Advisory for the majority of New Jersey on Wednesday, as we approach the edge of "dangerous heat" territory.
High temperatures will reach the lower to mid 90s. My calculations put the heat index ("feels like" or "apparent" temperature) in the upper 90s.
Other than the heat, we face no weather concerns for Wednesday. It will be another mostly sunny, dry day.
We will see some changes on Thursday, although not necessarily for the better.
Not only will it be hot on Thursday, but also very humid again. With highs in the mid to upper 90s, I suspect the heat index will pop over 100 degrees. That is steamy. And that is potentially dangerous, if you don't take care of yourself.
A few clouds will dot the sky on Thursday. And we could see a few popup thunderstorms, fueled by the heat and humidity and sparked by a weak cold front. Given our recent string of storm busts, I wouldn't bet the farm on much of the state seeing a storm or substantial rain — they look very isolated, at best.
Humidity dials back again, but the heat rolls on. Highs between 90 to 95 degrees. With more of that sweltering summer sunshine.
This will be one of the hottest weekends of the year, as the heat wave continues. But at least it will be dry.
Saturday will be mostly sunny and hot, with highs in the mid 90s. Hopefully the ambient wind will be light enough to allow a sea breeze at the Jersey Shore, potentially keeping beach temperatures in the 80s.
Model guidance now shows Sunday to be the hottest day of the week. Upper 90s, with a real possibility of hitting 100 degrees. (The Euro goes as high as 105!) We'll go from sun to clouds.
Eventually, early next week, a slow-moving cold front will provide some relief from the hot, dry weather.
Raindrops may arrive in New Jersey as early as Sunday night. Monday looks occasionally wet and stormy. And rain may extend into part of Tuesday. Overall rainfall doesn't look like a drought-buster, on the order of a half-inch to an inch. But there could be some downpours and strong storm cells to watch out for. (Especially on Monday.)
More importantly, that front will provide at least temporary relief. We'll lose the 90s for at least a couple of days. And humidity should drop pretty sharply too.
Of course, I'm not saying it won't heat right back up again — we still have over two months of summer to go.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.