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Near-record heat to follow unofficial start to summer in mid-Atlantic

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 5/28/2022 Renee Duff

Residents across the Northeast who were forced to dodge showers and feisty thunderstorms during the first part of the Memorial Day weekend can replace umbrellas with sunscreen by the time the unofficial start to summer arrives. The drier pattern will also arrive with a surge of heat early next week, but forecasters say the summerlike temperatures will be cut short sooner rather than later in part of the region.

The drier and warmer pattern is expected to take hold beginning on Sunday and set the stage for a spectacular conditions weather-wise for picnics, ballgames, parades and memorial services on Monday, Memorial Day.

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A few spots, such as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., could near the 90-degrees Fahrenheit mark on Memorial Day, which is anywhere from 10-15 degrees above average for the end of May.

"People heading to the beach or lakes for the first time this early in the season should be prepared for water temperatures that haven't remotely caught up with the air temperatures," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said, adding that ocean water temperatures range from the low 50s along the Maine coast to the low to mid-60s in southeastern Virginia.

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Memorial Day will feature the peak of the warmth in Boston, where high temperatures are forecast to top out in the middle 80s. Farther south and west, Tuesday is likely to feature the hottest conditions along the Interstate-95 corridor from Richmond, Virginia, to New York City, as well as farther inland to the central Appalachians.

"While it will be hot for many folks by Monday, any record-challenging heat holds off until Tuesday when the core of the warmth shifts overhead," AccuWeather Meteorologist Matt Benz said.

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Record highs for May 31, are generally in the lower to middle 90s across the mid-Atlantic, and forecasters expect temperatures to climb within a few degrees of these highs on Tuesday.

As air conditioners kick into high gear in these areas, AccuWeather meteorologists say that Mother Nature will put the brakes on the building heat across New England on Tuesday, with the natural cooling expected to reach the upper part of the mid-Atlantic at midweek.

"A cold front moving southward out of eastern Canada on Tuesday will sweep across New England and push back the wave of heat and humidity," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike LeSeney said.

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A front that moves to the south or southwest and drags in cooler air along the northeastern part of the Atlantic Seaboard is known as a backdoor cold front, since it moves in the opposite direction of routine weather systems (west to east).

Thermometer readings will tumble by more than 20 degrees from Monday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon in Boston as a stiff east-northeast breeze ushers in cooler ocean air.

"This surge of cooler Canadian air will continue to beat back the heat and humidity at midweek, providing relief to New York City," LeSeney said.

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New Yorkers can let Mother Nature do the work in cooling their homes as temperatures drop into the middle 70s for the first day of June on Wednesday, with similar plunges expected in surrounding suburbs.

Forecasters say the backdoor cold front will only make so much westward progress before hitting an atmospheric roadblock during the middle of next week as the typical west-to-east progression of storm systems resumes across the Northeast.

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These storm systems are likely to bring an increase in cloud coverage and return the threat of showers and thunderstorms across the region for the second half of the week, which may squash chances of an official heat wave being declared in some locations across the mid-Atlantic. Here, a heat wave is defined when three days in a row feature high temperatures at or above 90 degrees. Portions of Virginia and West Virginia stand the best chance of stringing together three 90-degree days next week.

Even with chances diminishing for an official heat wave to be reached across a widespread area, AccuWeather meteorologists say residents can still expect a taste of summer with warmth, humidity and pop-up thunderstorms during the first days of June.

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