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Beachgoers near the 4th Avenue beach in Belmar, June 12, 2017. (Mark Brown | For NJ.com)
Beachgoers near the 4th Avenue beach in Belmar, June 12, 2017. (Mark Brown | For NJ.com)

New Jersey could be on the brink of its third heat wave of the year -- with temperatures soaring to the 90-degree mark and high humidity making it feel like it's close to 100 degrees -- just in time for Fourth of July weekend.

"Summer is back," said Joe Martucci, a meteorologist at the WeatherWorks forecasting company, based in Warren County. "We're gonna be turning back the clock from September right into July the next couple of days."

Wednesday could be the weather pick of the week, with sunny skies, low humidity and comfortable temperatures in the upper 70s, thanks to a ridge of high pressure stationed over southern New Jersey, Martucci said. Once Thursday arrives, however, the high pressure dome will move off-shore, allowing hot and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico to push its way into our region.

That's when temperatures will be shooting up, along with uncomfortable humidity.

On Friday and Saturday, the heat index -- how hot it feels when you combine the temperature with the humidity -- is expected to rise very close to 100 degrees in the urban corridor from Trenton to Philadelphia and down to Wilmington, Delaware, said Lance Franck, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's regional forecast office in Burlington County.

Franck said an official heat wave -- three straight days with temperatures reaching 90 degrees or higher -- is not out of the question, but it will likely be a close call. Temperatures in interior New Jersey are forecast to reach 88 degrees on Thursday, 92 on Friday, 92 on Saturday and 88 on Sunday.

Even if it doesn't reach heat wave criteria, it will be hot and sticky, with a slight chance of pop-up showers and thunderstorms typical for July. "This is not a good hair weekend," Martucci said. 

The biggest threat of rain may come on Sunday, when a cold front from Canada is forecast to pass through the Northeast, the meteorologist said. But that doesn't mean the entire Garden State will be wet, he noted.

Here's the National Weather Service's early weather outlook for Fourth of July weekend:


NORTH JERSEY REGION

Friday, June 30: Mostly sunny, with a high near 91 and a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy Friday night, with a low around 70 and a 30 percent chance of rain.

Saturday, July 1: Partly sunny, with a high near 91 and a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy Saturday night, with a low around 70 and a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. 

Sunday, July 2: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 86 and a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy Sunday night, with a low around 68 and a 30 percent chance of rain.

Monday, July 3: Partly sunny, with a high near 86 and a 30 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy Monday night, with a low around 67 and a 30 percent chance of precipitation.

Tuesday, July 4: Partly sunny, with a high near 85.


SHORE REGION (MONMOUTH & OCEAN)

Friday, June 30: Mostly sunny, with a high near 85. Partly cloudy Friday night, with a low around 72.

Saturday, July 1: Partly sunny, with a high near 84. Mostly cloudy Saturday night, with a low around 72 and a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. 

Sunday, July 2: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 83 and a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy Saturday night, with a low around 71 and a 30 percent chance of rain.

Monday, July 3: Partly sunny, with a high near 82 and a 30 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy Monday night, with a low around 70.

Tuesday, July 4: Partly sunny, with a high near 83.


SHORE REGION (ATLANTIC & CAPE MAY)

Friday, June 30: Mostly sunny, with a high near 88. Partly cloudy Friday night, with a low around 73.

Saturday, July 1: Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Mostly cloudy Saturday night, with a low around 73 and a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 9 p.m.

Sunday, July 2: Partly sunny, with a high near 87 and a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy Sunday night, with a low around 72 and a 30 percent chance of rain.

Monday, July 3: Partly sunny, with a high near 86 and a 30 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy Monday night, with a low around 71 and a 30 percent chance of rain.

Tuesday, July 4: Partly sunny, with a high near 86.

Len Melisurgo may be reached at LMelisurgo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @LensReality or like him on Facebook. Find NJ.com on Facebook.