Northeast Scorching With Temps In 90s As Historic Heat Wave Takes Hold
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Topline

Dozens of record high temperatures are set to be shattered along the I-95 corridor in the Northeast this weekend as an unusual May heat wave pushes the mercury into the mid and perhaps even upper 90s across most of the region, which could be especially dangerous since many are unaccustomed to extreme heat this time of year.

Key Facts

Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey, are expected to hit 96 Saturday afternoon, with mid-90s also expected to the north and west of New York City.

New York City itself will get a bit of a respite compared to the rest of the Northeast due to cool water temperatures, with forecasters expecting highs to top out in the mid-80s there throughout the weekend.

Boston will also escape the heat Saturday, with a high of around 80, but forecasters expect the high to soar there to 97 on Sunday.

A 97-degree reading in Boston would tie the city’s all-time high for the month of May, set on May 26, 1880.

The scorching temperatures combined with high humidity will push heat indices to around 100 throughout the Northeast.

Big Number

More than 35 million. That’s how many Americans in the Northeast are under a heat advisory. This is the earliest a heat advisory has ever been issued for Boston and New York City, according to the Washington Post.

Crucial Quote

“This will also be the warmest day of the year so far for some,” the National Weather Service noted in a Saturday morning forecast discussion. “90s will be common even into the Northeast which is about 20-25 degrees above normal.”

Key Background

The extreme heat is the result of an enhanced ridge of high pressure known as the Bermuda High, a semi-permanent feature that is usually parked over the Atlantic Ocean during the summer, where it’s best known for influencing the track of hurricanes. The unusual springtime heat wave is also the latest sign that human-caused climate change may be having an impact on weather patterns—climate scientists warn more intense and more frequent heat waves will be among the most immediate changes in a warming world.

Tangent

The heat wave comes less than a year after the Northwestern U.S. experienced one of the most extreme heat waves ever recorded on Earth. Highs in coastal cities in Washington and Oregon, which are typically around 70 in early summer, soared above 110, with Portland, Oregon, hitting 116 on June 28, 2021. In Canada, the village of Lytton, British Columbia, set the country’s all-time record high three days in a row, topping out at 121 on June 29, 2021, before a wildfire fueled by the hot, dry and windy conditions engulfed the village, destroying nearly every structure.

Contra

Much of Colorado, including Denver, was blanketed with snow Saturday after a late-season winter storm, with around a foot of accumulation reported in Colorado Springs. The warmup will be quick—the forecast high is 86 in Denver on Friday.

Further Reading

Hundreds Likely Dead After Historic Heat Wave Hits Pacific Northwest And Canada (Forbes)

Colorado snow totals for May 21, 2022 (Denver Post)

Unusually High Winds Wreaking Havoc Across The Country (Forbes)

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