The Bottom Line

Honestly, the cloudy, damp weather was a nice change of pace from our scorching hot summer. But now it's time for New Jersey to return to blue skies and warmth.

Remember that storm system that made Tuesday wet and Wednesday gloomy? It's still spinning just off-shore. It will nudge east enough to allow our skies to clear Thursday. But we do have some coastal concerns — a high risk of rip currents, and widespread minor tidal flooding.

The forecast for both Friday and Saturday is fantastic. And then we have to talk about the return of unsettled weather early next week. That means clouds and rain.

Thursday

Skies have already started to clear overnight. And we'll continue to progress from clouds to sun during the day Thursday. (Technically, I'm calling it "partly sunny to mostly sunny".) Although we had some sprinkles along the southern coast overnight, I think raindrops will stay away after sunrise.

So this day is all about weather improvements. As we enjoy more and more sunshine in the afternoon, temperatures will respond. Look for highs in the 75 to 80 degree range — just a smidge below normal for early September.

A northeasterly breeze will be noticeable, especially along the coast. And that wind is still pushing some water toward the Jersey Shore. So a high risk of rip currents continues for Thursday, with 3 to 5 foot waves battering the beaches. Remember that is particularly dangerous because lifeguards are pretty much done for the season now.

A Coastal Flood Advisory is also posted for the Jersey Shore, Delaware Bay, and Delaware River during Thursday evening's high tide cycle. A foot or two of water rise will cause widespread "minor" category flooding along tidal waterways. One more round of coastal flooding is forecast for Friday evening, and then the ocean should calm down this weekend.

Thursday night will be clear and comfortable. Most low temperatures will dip into the lower 60s. In the coolest corners of the state — NW NJ and the Pinelands — we'll probably see some cool 50s.

Friday & Saturday

I have lumped these two days together, because they are similar. And spectacular.

Friday will be bright and sunny, with a seasonably warm high temperature around 80 degrees.

Saturday looks a smidge warmer — probably the warmest day of the week. Expect lower 80s. I'm calling it mostly sunny, although clouds will start to fill-in the sky by late afternoon.

Sunday

The second half of the weekend will be drastically different from the first. You will immediately notice abundant cloud cover on Sunday. And humidity will kick up a notch too.

Sunday's high temperatures will still be warm, but probably a few degrees cooler than Saturday. I think we'll average upper 70s across the state.

Plus, we have to talk about the return of rain chances. Even during the day on Sunday, some spotty showers could brush by. I think the best chance of raindrops will be along the western edge of the state.

Steadier rain may push in Sunday night.

The Extended Forecast

Our weather will turn wet and unsettled early next week. We'll probably see a healthy inch of rain dampening the Garden State. But the timing of that storm system is still very much up in the air.

If you believe the latest run of the GFS forecast model, steady to heavy rain will drive through NJ from Sunday night through Monday morning. And then we'd be under spotty to scattered showers for the subsequent few days.

However, the Euro model is slower and later. Sunday would be dry. Then pockets of scattered rain would be present from midday Monday through late Tuesday. An isolated shower would still be possible into Wednesday too.

In either case, the effects would be very similar. A period of wet, non-severe, non-flooding weather. It's just a matter of when "the wet day" would be. Obviously, the speed and extent of that storm system will make a big difference on temperatures and sky cover too. I expect we'll have better resolution on that piece of the forecast puzzle in the next day or two.

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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