Northeast’s first heat wave is here, but how long will it last?

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June 6 (UPI) — Mother Nature has finally flipped the switch to summery weather across the northeastern United States, nearly a week after Memorial Day’s unofficial start to the season was marred by rain and record cold. In fact, AccuWeather meteorologists are predicting the first full-fledged heat wave of the year for the region as the warmer pattern takes hold.

In the Northeast, a heat wave is three days or more in a row with high temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, according to the National Weather Service.

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Cities along the Interstate-95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston are predicted to reach this threshold with highs in the 90s forecast each day through Monday. At most, this corridor had a two-day stretch of 90-degree heat in late May.

The 90-degree streak began on Saturday in the nation’s capital, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston. New York City’s Central Park reached a high of 89 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday. One week ago on May 29, all of these cities were stuck in the 50s.

In some areas, Saturday featured record-breaking temperatures. Newark, New Jersey, broke its 1966 record of 92 by rising to 94 at the start of the weekend. LaGuardia Airport in New York City reported a high of 93, putting it 2 degrees above the record from 1953.

Factoring in sunshine and dry weather, and you have a perfect combination to hit the pool, lake, golf course or beach.

“Locations like Philadelphia that set record-low high temperatures on Memorial Day weekend, are now in line to climb into the 90s through Monday,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert said.

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Some interior locales may not only achieve the heat wave threshold into early week but also challenge daily record highs.

Syracuse, N.Y., is also among the list of cities that may rewrite the weather history books with this round of heat. On Sunday, AccuWeather meteorologists expect the city will rise one degree above its 2008 daily record of 92. Even Monday’s record high of 94 from 1999 could be within reach. The city’s high is normally 75 at this point in June.

The greatest temperature departure from average is likely to occur across part of southeastern Canada, where many more cities could experience record heat into Monday. For example, Montreal’s average high is in the lower 70s, but thermometers will be soaring into the upper 80s to lower 90s through Monday.

“Humidity levels will be higher than most people in the region have experienced thus far this year, but they will be a bit short of the levels often experienced during dog days of July and August,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures can climb several degrees above the actual thermometer reading, perhaps reach the century mark along the I-95 corridor, where the sun is out and humidity levels are elevated.

While heat sticks around in the northern portions of the area through the early week, storm chances will increase for southern portions of the area as a deep flow of moist air from the Gulf of Mexico pushes into the region, according to Gilbert.

“This moist air, when combined with a few disturbances in the upper levels of the atmosphere, will make daily afternoon thunderstorms a reality across the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast,” Gilbert explained.

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Towering clouds are likely to build each afternoon during the first half of next week with some turning into rain- and lightning-producing thunderstorms. As is typical during the summer months, it is not out of the question for storms to turn damaging on the local level due to sudden gusts of wind.

“While warm weather fans will be thrilled this week, fans of more mild conditions will likely have to wait until very late in the upcoming week to be satisfied,” Gilbert said.

A slight southward shift in the jet stream pattern across the Northeast looks to take place late in the week and into next weekend, which will help to knock temperatures down in the area.

Until the heat relief arrives, residents and visitors alike are encouraged to drink plenty of water and limit strenuous outdoor activity during the hottest times of the day amid the extended stretch of heat. Experts also urge people to look twice before locking and leaving a vehicle to not leave pets and/or children behind in the heat.