The Bottom Line

We made it! Some of the nicest days of the entire summer are upon us. And, dare I say, we deserve it - after sweating through above-normal temperatures for 17 of the first 21 days of July. Month-to-date rainfall is running at least twice the long-term average too, following our recent onslaught of soaking thunderstorms.

Low humidity, abundant sunshine, (mainly) dry weather, and slightly below normal temperatures will be our keys to success for Thursday's, Friday's, and Saturday's delightful weather. Our next chance of raindrops may impact the second half of the weekend. But I do like what I see in the long-range forecast.

Thursday

Since Wednesday afternoon, thunderstorms gave way to a drier, cooler, cleaner air mass. As of this writing (5:30 a.m.), dew points have dropped to around 60 degrees - not quite bottomed-out yet. Meanwhile, temperatures are mainly in the lower 60s to start the day - comfortable!

High temperatures are forecast to hit lower 80s across most of New Jersey Thursday afternoon. (Potentially cooler 70s in NW NJ and along the Jersey Shore.) Sunshine will win the sky for the first part of the day. And again, dry air will make it feel not sticky at all.

Forecast models do show a weak wave clipping northern New Jersey Thursday afternoon too. At the very least, that will lead to increased cloud cover. There is a chance that a sprinkle travels through North Jersey. But I have no hesitation in saying that 1.) the vast majority of NJ will stay completely dry, and 2.) it will be a beautiful day.

It's also worth mentioning that the western wildfire smoke has been pushed south of New Jersey. So our air has been scrubbed of fine particulates, leading to much-improved air quality Thursday. For some reason, Camden County only is under a Code Orange Air Quality Alert.

Thursday evening will be beautiful. And we'll stay comfortable overnight. Most low temperatures will again dip into the lower 60s. Partly cloudy skies will prevent thermometers from bottoming out too much. Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised to see some cool 50s on the temperature map Friday morning.

Friday

Another winner! Mostly sunny and dry. Highs back in the lower 80s. Beautiful. Period, full stop.

Saturday

Temperatures and humidity will start creeping upward. We'll see highs push into the seasonable mid 80s to start the weekend. And dew points will push upward toward 60. Just enough to feel somewhat stickier Saturday afternoon.

I'm holding on to a dry forecast for Saturday, although raindrops will get close late-night. Skies will probably progress from sunshine to late-day clouds too.

Sunday

The party's over. We face a couple rounds of showers on Saturday — most likely in the early morning and late afternoon to early evening hours. I'm seeing a moderate amount of instability in the atmosphere, so thunder and lightning and even severe weather could become a problem.

It's not going to be a washout though. In between raindrops, it will be mostly cloudy, warm, and pretty humid. (Dew point back to 70-ish.) Look for high temperatures between about 85 and 90 degrees.

The Extended Forecast

We will see some 90s around on Monday too, with the chance of rain and scattered thunderstorms continuing for another day.

Humidity will scale back again for most of next week. And as it stands now, Tuesday and Wednesday look very warm but sunny and pleasant.

And I do like what I see in the long-range forecast. As we look toward the start of August, yes there will be more heat and humidity and big thunderstorms. But as long as we keep getting these intrusions of dry air, there will be more "nice" weather days than "not". Good news all around!

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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