Triple Digits?

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This is day 6 of the heat wave and this is the climax as the temperatures reach the threshold of triple digits. Yes, I am predicting 100 degrees at Boston’s Logan Airport in the middle of this afternoon. That will eclipse the previous record of 98 set back in 1982. There have been about a couple dozen record highs at 100 degrees or a bit higher over the past 140 years in Boston. The most recent was just two years ago on July 22 when it soared to 103 degrees! There are only two years that had more than 1 day over 100. The year 1944 had 2 days on August 12 and 13 while 1911 had 4 and they all occurred in the first half of July with 102 on the 3rd, 104 on the 4th, 101 on the 6th and 100 on the 11th! The 104 degrees is the highest temperature ever recorded in the city. With 5 previous consecutive days in the 90s leading into this peak of 100 today, it makes it even more unbearable for many folks. Fortunately, we live in the mid-latitudes in New England where intense heat does not usually last too long. Our heat waves are mostly 3-4 day deals, not 6 or 7. The previous 7-day heat spell occurred 25 years ago from August 9-15 in 1988. The longest heat wave of 9 days happened in July 3-11, 1912. Was global warming/climate change happening back in 1911 and 1912? Just wondering. LOL.

The combination of decreasing air pressure advancing across southern Canada toward the northern border states and the ridge of high pressure sinking southward means that the pressure gradient will be tightening. This will result in a freshening southwesterly wind to 12-28 mph and that is the first major change that has occurred this week. Consequently, the searing heat will be driven right onto the east-facing beaches which is a switch from the previous 5 days when onshore winds provided some relief. Today’s wind will keep south-facing coastal areas the coolest from Newport to Nantucket where upper 70s to middle 80s are likely for highs while other parts of Cape Cod are higher in the middle 80s to about 90. Over most of southeastern MA, it will spike to the middle 90s and over some of the hills of Worcester County. Otherwise, 97-101 is a good bet for most of the rest of the region and linking that hot stuff with the oppressive humidity, you get the heat index numbers meaning it will feel like 105-110 for a few hours this afternoon. This has prompted the National Weather Service to post the Excessive Heat Warning from noon to 7pm today. Please reduce strenuous physical exertion and time in the sun plus stay well hydrated with water. The goal is to avoid the many heat-related illnesses. An Air Quality Alert is also posted for much of the area due to a buildup of ground level ozone concentrations. The combination of all the preceding factors is tough on the elderly, younger children and those with ailments especially respiratory disorders. Electrical consumption will likely reach a new record peak today which hopefully will not result in too many scattered outages. It will be mighty hot at Fenway Park this evening as the Red Sox are back in town to host a weekend series with the NY Yankees. First pitch temperature at 7:10pm will be in the lower 90s! Tomorrow’s 4 pm game may be impacted by a passing thunderstorm.

Despite the scorching heat and oppressive humidity, the risk of a thunderstorm is minimal to almost zero! The atmosphere has become capped by very warm air aloft and there is no apparent trigger mechanism to spark any storms. That will not be the case tomorrow when many parameters will be in place to ignite some nasty storms tomorrow afternoon. Some of these storms have the high potential to be strong to severe featuring damaging wind and hail plus vivid close cloud to ground lightning strikes and torrential rains. Present timing would haul these beasts through from mid-afternoon to early evening in most of our area. Please keep an eagle eye on the sky if you’re planning outside activities especially boat and beach trips or golfing. It will still be mighty hot tomorrow but it will not match today’s climax as temperatures rise into the lower perhaps middle 90s in spots making it a 7-day heat wave for much of the area except various coastal locations. A cold front comes to the rescue and punches through late in the day to introduce genuine relief for New England for Sunday and Monday. Those will be exquisite days with low humidity and pleasant temperatures in the upper 70s to lower 80s. Overnight low temperatures Monday night will be in the range of 55-60 in many of the suburbs. Awesome!

Looking ahead, the weather becomes sketchy and unsettled much of next week starting with late Monday night as showers and a few thunderstorms arrive. This showery regime will probably be in force on Tuesday and again late Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as a trough of low pressure takes control in the eastern portion of the nation. Clearly, after tomorrow, there are no more heat waves the rest of this month and perhaps no single days at 90 degrees as well. Additionally, the longer range outlook for August indicates the month will produce a mean of below average temperatures in the Northeast. With that hypothesis in mind, the conclusion is that we have survived the hottest part of the summer of 2013 after enduring uncomfortable conditions in the next 24-36 hours.

Todd Gutner posts his blog early this evening and Joe Joyce is on duty this weekend.

Have a happy and safe weekend. Stay cool and peace out.

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