From thunderstorms to sunshine to heat: NJ Memorial Day weekend weather
The Bottom Line
Memorial Day weekend is often called the "unofficial start of summer," and that moniker is definitely true this time around. There's something for everyone in this holiday weekend forecast. From fog to thunderstorms to spotty showers to sunshine to heat and humidity.
Even though this is not a perfect forecast for outdoor activities, there is a lot to like here. Especially as dry weather and summerlike heat/humidity return for Sunday and Monday.
Not only can you feel the humidity in the air Friday morning, you can see it too. The Jersey Shore in particular is socked in by fog, with visibility as low as a quarter-mile in many spots. You may have to slow down as you start your day. Fog should lift around mid-morning, by around 9 a.m.
Then we'll fall into a mostly cloudy, breezy, warm, and humid day. 60s in the morning will warm to about 75 to 80 degrees by midday.
If you're going to attempt a pre-weekend beach day, there is an alert in the Jersey Shore Report: A high risk of rip currents. it seems the ocean is still a bit churned up from this week's stretch of on-shore wind.
The big thing to watch Friday is several waves of showers and thunderstorms. That rain is over central Pennsylvania as of this writing (7 a.m.) And it looks like they'll move into western New Jersey around 2 or 3 o'clock Friday afternoon. Rain should affect NJ's coastal counties around 4 or 5 p.m.
Given our refreshed warmth and humidity in the area, arriving storms will have plenty of fuel to feed and grow and strengthen. As usual, pockets of heavy rain and gusty winds will be the big concerns. An isolated tornado is possible, especially along the western edge of the state, as storms first arrive.
Thunderstorm activity should subside as storms approach the coast, entering cooler and more stable air. Rain should end by late Friday evening.
It will remain pretty cloudy and muggy overnight, with low temperatures dipping into the 60s.
The best word for Saturday's weather is iffy.
Our weather will remain unsettled, with hit or miss showers and even a few thunderstorms around. There will be rain in New Jersey on Saturday. But, unlike Friday, not everyone in the state will get wet. And the weather won't necessarily be dangerous, just inclement at times.
The best chance for spots of rain Saturday will be 1.) during the daytime hours, and 2.) away from the coast.
Otherwise, you will see breaks of sun along with passing clouds. High temperatures will reach well into the 70s, even near the coast, thanks to a warm southwest breeze.
Brighter skies. Drier weather. Warmer temperatures.
Sunday could very well become the shining star of the holiday weekend. The chance of a popup shower isn't zero. But low enough that I'm willing to call Sunday dry.
Skies will be partly sunny. Humidity will be lower than Friday and Saturday, as dew points dip into the 50s. And high temperatures should end up right around 80 degrees. (A bit cooler at the beaches.)
Sounds like a nice late May day to me.
Monday (Memorial Day)
New Jersey's best chance of a completely dry day this holiday weekend will be Memorial Day Monday. But the warmup continues — we might have to call it hot by the afternoon.
My latest temperature forecast calls for highs around 85 to 90 degrees. That is akin to a seasonably hot July/August day. The Shore will catch a sea breeze, keeping beaches cooler and more comfortable.
With partly sunny skies and no rain — on paper — the weather will cooperate for Memorial Day parades and remembrance ceremonies across New Jersey. Just remember to respect the heat — dress appropriately, stay extra hydrated, and take a break in air conditioning if you start to feel unwell.
The Extended Forecast
It looks like the heat will continue to build on Tuesday, with widespread 90s away from the coast. Possibly as hot as 95. With lots of hazy sunshine.
The forecast gets a bit more uncertain and muddled midweek. Some models favor an intrusion of cooler air on Wednesday and Thursday. Others keep the furnace on full blast, with more 90s.
The consensus seems to be that our next storm system and substantial chance of rain won't come until Thursday or Friday next week. Long-range models show a return to on-shore winds and cooler temperatures by the middle of June, although that's far from a sure bet.
I hope you and yours have a relaxing, fun, reflective, and safe Memorial Day weekend. As always, we'll be here, on-air and online with your latest thunderstorm and heat weather updates.
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter for the latest forecast and realtime weather updates.