The sprawling high pressure ridge that baked the Mid-Atlantic in a two week period from late June to early July has shifted to the Southwest U.S. This has allowed the jet stream to dip south and bring a touch of cooler, Canadian air with temperatures near average and dew points in the tolerable range.
Residents in the Southwest haven’t been so lucky. Death Valley, Calif., cooked at 128 degrees on Wednesday but that wasn't a daily high temperature record (the record was 129 degrees for Wednesday). Keep in mind Death Valley has the record for the hottest temperature in the U.S. of 134 degrees! Ontario, Calif., hit 103 degrees Tuesday, shattering the former record of 99 degrees. Meanwhile, the thermometer hit 121 degrees at a WeatherBug station in Newberry Springs, Calif., on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, back here in the Mid-Atlantic, Reagan National Airport was almost dead on with average temperatures Wednesday. The high was 89 degrees (which is exactly average for mid-July) and the low was 73 degrees (two degrees above the average).
Going through the remainder of the work week, the front that zapped the record-breaking heat wave Sunday will slowly lift north as a warm front. By early next week, the high pressure ridge in the West will slide east into the Mississippi and Tennessee valleys as a trough, or dip in the jet stream, comes into the Northwest. What this shakes down to is a pattern shift with the heat ridge being “bumped” back into the East.
Much of the balance of next week will likely bring temperatures back into at least the middle 90s and possible the triple-digit range again in the nation’s capital. Just like the early July heat wave, record highs could be challenged across large stretches of the Central and Southeast U.S. Keep in mind we are in the midst of the warmest time of the year. The average temperature drops from its peak now of 89 degrees back to 88 degrees on July 23rd and continues to drop off until mid-January.
In addition, because the intense heat looks to return during the warmest part of the summer, records may be tough to break. For instance, the record highs Monday through Friday range from 102 degrees to 106 degrees (106 degrees is the hottest temperature recorded at Reagan National). However, with dew points forecast to be in the 70s, heat indices will likely climb back into the danger category.
So far this summer has been a hot one. July has been almost 8 degrees above average while June was 1.1 degrees above average. There have been seven days with record highs so far this summer at Reagan National, with the hottest day being one degree shy of the all-time record high mentioned above, which was 106 degrees.
Stay cool and stay with ABC7 and WTOP for the latest on the forecast!