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Get Ready For Oppressive Heat, Poor Air Quality

By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer
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BOSTON (CBS) – Here we go!

We are at the very start of what promises to be one of the longest stretches of hot and humid weather of the summer.

Check: Current Conditions | Weather Maps | Interactive Radar

By the middle of next week, many towns north and west of Boston will have had 7 straight days with high temperatures 90 degrees or higher, one of the longest heat waves in recent memory.

The heat wave isn’t a lock everywhere, at least not at first.

Some cloud cover and scattered thunderstorms over the weekend, Sunday especially, will hold many spots just below the 90 degree mark.

But by next week, the heat and humidity will surge into New England in a major way.  Temperatures could top out in the mid to upper 90′s Tuesday and Wednesday before a cold front brings some relief by Thursday.

Dew points this weekend will rise into the 60′s, giving the air a real sticky feel. Later Sunday even more oppressive air will arrive making outdoor work and activities early next week downright dangerous and nearly unbearable.

The heat index (feels-like temperature) will rise above 100 for a good portion of early next week, likely prompting heat advisories to be issued by the National Weather Service.

AIR QUALITY ALERT

The air quality will also be poor for this stretch, in fact an air quality alert has already been issued for areas north and west of Boston on Friday.

This is due to ground level ozone levels approaching and likely exceeding unhealthy standards. Adding insult to injury, smoke from wildfires in western and central Canada has made the long trip eastward and is adding a haze to the skies of New England.

This is not all that unusual for this time of year.  However, with temperatures topping 90 and air quality already being unhealthy, it certainly is not a welcome sight.

WE NEED RAIN

Finally, you may have noticed that your lawns which were so green and thick just a few months ago have turned crusty and brown.

July has been exceptionally dry thus far with only one period of measureable rain, the morning of the 4th. Most of southern New England is about an inch below normal for the month and there are only a few isolated thunderstorms in the forecast over the next several days. Best chance of a brief shower or storm would be Sunday afternoon, but nothing widespread until Wednesday night.

Looking for relief?

With winds generally out of the west and southwest during the prolonged heat wave your best chance would be on the South Coast, Cape Cod and the Islands. But even there highs will soar well into the 80′s most days and humidity levels will remain very high.

So take it easy, stay hydrated and search for shade.  New England is about to join the rest of the country in what has been one of the hottest summers in recent memory.

You can follow Terry on Twitter at @TerryWBZ.

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