The most expansive, prolonged heatwave of the spring east of the Rockies continues to smash record highs from the Midwest and the Southern United States all the way down to Northern Mexico.
For some, this heat is just an extension of what’s already been a warm spring. For others, it’s been an abrupt change from a frustrating spring chill to summerlike heat and humidity.
The reason for this is essentially the jet stream has become wavy. It has plunged southward into the West Coast and Great Basin, bringing chilly weather, there. That caused the jet stream east of the Rockies to shoot northward into Canada, leaving a dome of high pressure over the nation’s mid-section.
When this happens, hot and humid air flows freely northward from the Gulf of Mexico. Sinking air near the center of this high-pressure dome also works to minimize clouds and maximize sunshine.
The heatwave began in the south-central U.S. over the weekend.
Amarillo, Texas, saw its earliest 100-degree day on record Saturday, and San Antonio had its earliest consecutive 100-degree days on record over the weekend.
Daily record highs were either tied or broken Sunday in Abilene, Texas (107 degrees), Childress, Texas (107 degrees), Roswell, New Mexico (101 degrees), and Amarillo, Texas (99 degrees).
The record heat became more expansive on Monday, with daily record highs tied or broken in Dodge City, Kansas (99 degrees), Kansas City (91 degrees), Little Rock, Arkansas (90 degrees), Lubbock, Texas (98 degrees), and San Antonio (97 degrees).
Record hot temperatures were observed as far north as northern Michigan on Tuesday when Traverse City hit 92 degrees, marking its hottest temperature for so early in the season.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Amarillo hit a daily record high for the third time in four days when it hit 100 degrees. Other daily records were tied or broken in Waco, Texas (94 degrees), Little Rock, Arkansas (90 degrees), Madison, Wisconsin (90 degrees), and Green Bay, Wisconsin (86 degrees). Topeka, Kansas (78 degrees), had its hottest May low temperature on record, Tuesday.
Then on Wednesday, Chicago had its first 90-degree high of 2022, the earliest in the calendar that happened in 11 years, and a new daily record high for May 11.
Many other daily record highs were tied or broken Wednesday, including in Denver (90 degrees), Memphis, Tennessee (92 degrees), Sioux City, Iowa (92 degrees), Omaha, Nebraska (96 degrees), and Milwaukee (86 degrees).
The most widespread additional record high temperatures are expected again Thursday from the Lower Mississippi Valley into the Midwest. Some record highs are also possible through Saturday in parts of upstate New York and New England.
Dozens of additional daily record highs – and record warm nighttime lows – will be threatened in parts of those regions.
Cooler temperatures will engulf the Midwest over the weekend, putting an end to this early-season hot stretch in that region. Texas will continue to endure additional record heat into next week.
With information from The Weather Channel