The Bottom Line

Happy Thursday. We have a big transition ahead, as humidity and warm air returns to New Jersey's atmosphere. There is only one thing in the forecast worthy of ringing alarm bells — a round of thunderstorms late-day Friday.

Of course, all eyes are still on the Memorial Day Weekend outlook. And it's actually trending better. Saturday looks iffy, with a good chance of a shower or thunderstorm at some point. But I'm favoring a dry forecast for Sunday and Monday, with summer-ish temperatures returning early next week too.

Thursday

Eh, a "status quo" weather day for the most part.

The day is off to a cool start — our last truly cool morning for a while. (Maybe for the season?) Thermometers have crashed into the mid 40s in NW NJ and the Pine Barrens, with mid 50s along the coast. You may consider a jacket heading out the front door.

Skies will turn mostly cloudy, if they're not already. The on-shore breeze will be with us once again. Winds will be light, but that on-shore flow is enough to warrant a high risk of rip currents along the Jersey Shore Thursday.

The only potential hiccup in an otherwise OK day will be a weak storm system pushing from south to north across the area. It's not going to have much "oomph" behind it, so I only expect sprinkles and light showers. Best chance of raindrops will be in southern New Jersey.

High temperatures will be limited to the mid 60s. Still below-normal for late May, but not entirely unpleasant.

Dew points and humidity levels will also slowly rise throughout Thursday. That factor, along with a blanket of clouds, will keep temperatures in the 60s Thursday night.

Friday

A semi-active day of transition.

First of all, it is going to be noticeably warmer and more humid. High temperatures will surge to about 75 to 80 degrees — much more typical of this time of year.

Skies will be mostly cloudy. But most of Friday should stay dry and trouble-free.

However, starting late-day Friday, we'll have to watch the sky for a line of thunderstorms approaching from the west. Given the heat and humidity built up in the atmosphere, those storms could be on the strong side with downpours and gusty winds.

Timing is going to be very important for storm impacts. Initial storms may cross the Delaware River around 3 or 4 p.m. But once we get to 7 or 8 p.m., storms will largely run out of steam. They'll also pulse down before reaching the coast. (Latest models are trending toward a later solution, but I wouldn't hang my hat on that call.)

Any showers and thunderstorms will exit the coast around Midnight Friday night.

Saturday

Saturday's tough. I think there will be some glimmers of pleasant weather, with mixed clouds and sunshine. But it is going to rain for part of the day too.

At the moment, the best chance for showers and thunderstorms looks to be in the afternoon and early evening hours, between lunchtime and dinnertime. Rainfall spread will be scattered to broken. So not everyone in NJ will get wet, necessarily. But the chance is good enough to consider your outdoor plans very carefully for Saturday.

High temperatures should average upper 70s across the state.

Sunday

Ahh, improving weather.

I had previously mentioned a rain chance for Sunday. But given the latest guidance, I am ready to call Sunday dry. (At least for now.)

I'll be even more optimistic and call it partly sunny. And warm, with highs pushing into the lower 80s. (The Jersey Shore will be the cool spot, with the sea breeze machine firing up.)

Memorial Day Monday

Definitely dry. Definitely warm.

They call Memorial Day the unofficial start of summer. And it's going to feel quite summerlike this time around. Morning lows around 70. Afternoon highs in the mid 80s — akin to a July or August day. Humidity levels will be manageable — not too high, but not low either. We'll have a nice southwest breeze keeping the hot air moving around. And a sea breeze should keep coastal communities cooler again.

The Extended Forecast

Long-range models are pointing to the warmup continuing through Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. 90s are possible. Maybe even our first heat wave of the season. (Remember that's three 90+ degree days in a row.)

Next storm system of any significance doesn't come into view until late next week, at the earliest.

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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