The unofficial start of summer is still a week away, but the heat index could reach 100 degrees this Saturday in much of the region, according to the National Weather Service.
The federal agency issued a heat advisory for Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean and Somerset counties in New Jersey. The advisory is in effect from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
There’s a chance of record temperatures across the Garden State this weekend, as the hottest May 21 on record at Atlantic City International Airport was 93 degrees, set in 1996.
Even so, there will be no relief on the beaches. The sea is still too cold to take a dip. The water temperature off Sandy Hook was in the 60s Thursday and is likely to stay in that range through the weekend. Also, there are no lifeguards on duty either.
New York City’s National Weather Service office issued a heat advisory for all five boroughs, the first in May since at least 2006. Central Park hasn’t even hit 80 degrees this year; but it will be able to reach that temperature before 11 am on Saturday.
The weather will not improve on Sunday for either New York or New Jersey. The current forecast low temperature of 72 degrees in New York City would tie a record for the warmest low temperature dating back to 1959.
How unusual is it to have this kind of heat so early in the year? Well, New York City averages a 90 degree day every year in May. This year, it is possible to see two: Saturday and Sunday. The month that typically sees the most 90-degree days is July, with an average of six.
The highest temperatures recorded throughout the month are 98 or 99 degrees in most places. Interestingly, we have never recorded a 100 degree day at any of our weather reporting stations in the month of May.
What is driving these July-like conditions a week before Memorial Day weekend?
There are southwesterly winds circulating around Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean that will push warm air from the south to the northeast.
As a result, temperatures will be the hottest this weekend since early last fall. Some areas on Saturday can feel like it’s nearly 100 degrees outside when humidity is factored in, according to the weather service.
If you don’t have air conditioning at home, locates cooling centers throughout the tri-state region here.