Heat wave to bake New England as Atlanta waits for 1st 90 F day

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The first official day of summer will feel more like the dog days of the year’s hottest season for some. A heat wave will ramp up in northern New England and part of southeastern Canada just in time for the summer solstice, which kicks off the summer season on June 20.

Temperatures are forecast to climb into the upper 80s and lower 90s F (30 to 34 C) over a several-day stretch across these regions, according to forecasters.

In the northern United States, a heat wave can be called when the temperature soars to 90 degrees or higher for three consecutive days. In Quebec and New Brunswick, that threshold is roughly 31 C or 88 F. In southern Ontario, it is generally 32 C (90 F) like the northern U.S.

“This spell of heat certainly qualifies for a heat wave, especially from southern Quebec and New Brunswick,” Canada Weather Expert Brett Anderson said.

Caribou, Maine, along with Montreal and Quebec City, are among the communities where record highs will be challenged on multiple days.

Each of these cities has already endured highs in the 90s F (above 32 C) once or twice already this year, with more grueling days on the way, while Atlanta hasn’t even reached that threshold. Burlington, Vermont, notched its fourth 90-degree day of the year on Thursday, although the temperature fell shy of the record high for the date.

Caribou, Maine, beat out Thursday’s daily record of 90 F set in 1955 by 5 degrees. According to the local National Weather Service office, there have only been nine days since Caribou’s weather records began in 1939 that the city’s temperature has reached 95. The all-time record for any calendar day in Caribou is 96, which was established on June 29, 1944, and reached again on May 22, 1977.

“It’s quite a rarity for Atlanta to not have had a high of 90 F by the middle of June,” Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines said. “In fact, Atlanta is going to have one of its latest first 90-degree days on record since temperatures aren’t expected to reach that mark through at least this weekend.”

Kines said that Atlanta’s third-latest first 90-degree day is June 20 set in 1974, and June 25 is the latest date.

The same weather pattern that helped to trap a drenching rainstorm over the Carolinas and southern Virginia in recent days will continue to keep rain away from the St. Lawrence Valley region late this week and this weekend.

Rain and storm systems will generally be forced to go around this area, rather than pass from west to east through the region, which is a more typical storm path.

Showers and thunderstorms from the old Carolina storm will tend to travel northwestward, toward the Ohio Valley through Friday, then toward part of the lower Great Lakes early this weekend before being strewn northeastward across the St. Lawrence Valley sometime during early next week.

This will keep much of the region under hot mid-June sunshine, which is the strongest sunshine of the entire year, associated with the summer solstice. This is when the sun’s rays strike the Northern Hemisphere at the most direct angle of the entire year. It also marks the time with the maximum amount of daylight of the entire year.

“Ongoing dry ground conditions will also help to maximize the temperature during the day as the dry soil tends to heat up faster than wet soil, much like a desert,” Anderson said.

Since May 11, rainfall over much of New England and southern Quebec has ranged from 15 to 50% of average with the driest conditions over southern New England.

A gradual uptick in humidity is forecast for the region into this weekend, which has been enjoying autumnlike humidity levels of late.

The upward trend in humidity, combined with the intense sunshine will push RealFeel® Temperatures a few degrees higher than the actual temperature.

People are urged to use caution in partaking in strenuous manual labor or exercise during the late morning and afternoon hours when the heat will be most intense. The best time for such activity, as well as any Father’s Day games, will be early in the morning or during the evening.

“Many people who live in Quebec and New Brunswick do not have air conditioning,” Anderson said.

This may change in the near future as the demand for summer cooling may steadily increase.

“With climate change being even more pronounced in the North we expect the frequency and duration of heat waves to increase this century,” Anderson added.

It may take until the middle of next week for the worst of the heat to finally ease across northern New England and neighboring parts of Canada.

How much eastward progress a cold front makes will determine whether humidity will also get slashed with a return of nicer weather around midweek or if clouds, thunderstorms and humidity will continue.

People often seek heat relief with tried-and-true summertime favorites, and that means it’s ice cream season. ‘s Dexter Henry asks the age-old question of which ice cream option holds up better in the heat. Henry took to New York City streets to ask whether people prefer a cup or cone to avoid a sticky, melting mess when temperatures climb.

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