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Summer in March: Record heat to scorch South this week

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 4 days ago Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

Folks in the southern USA will get a summer preview this week as temperatures soar to levels more typical of June than March. 

"Temperatures from the southern Plains to the Southeast will average 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal with highs well into the 80s," AccuWeather meteorologist Tyler Roys said. Highs in the 90s will even be reached in some spots.

The National Weather Service said that "dozens of record high temperatures are possible across the southern U.S. this week, especially Thursday through Saturday."

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New Orleans, which already broke daily high temperature records on Monday (88 degrees) and Tuesday (86 degrees), is forecast to erase temperature records every day through Saturday, AccuWeather said.

A few locations also could approach all-time record highs for the entire month of March, the Weather Channel said. That includes Jacksonville, Florida, and Montgomery, Alabama, where current March records are 91 degrees and 90 degrees, respectively.

High humidity will add to the summerlike feel and make it more difficult for the body to cool off.

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The heat is courtesy of a dome of high pressure centered over the Gulf of Mexico that's expected to bulge northward into the South over the next few days. "When that happens, there is sinking air in the atmosphere that causes temperatures to heat up," Weather Channel meteorologist Chris Dolce said.

It already has been a warm start to the month in the southern U.S. Several cities, including New Orleans, Houston, Austin, Texas, Jacksonville, Florida, and Atlanta, are on pace to see one of their top 10 warmest Marches on record, the Southeast Regional Climate Center said.

The heat wave should break by Sunday in many areas thanks to a storm system forecast to sweep west to east across the South, AccuWeather said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Summer in March: Record heat to scorch South this week

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