Unseasonal heat ravages the eastern US
Temperatures in the mid-Atlantic and northeast will be 20 to 30 °F above usual, with Washington expected to reach 96 °F (35.5 °C).
As a blazing heatwave that has burned the country's south and west travels east, dozens of states throughout the US began the weekend battling with historically high spring temperatures.
The early arrival of hot weather ahead of what is projected to be another hot, dry summer is expected to break or tie about 130 heat records for this time of year, with temperatures in the mid-Atlantic and northeast ranging from 20 to 30 °F above average.
However, a dip in the jet stream will keep temperatures in the Rockies and Plains much lower than usual. The National Weather Service said that it will "look and feel like a return to winter" in Colorado, however, the cold blast will not be enough to put out burning wildfires further west.
More than 120 million Americans are affected by the heat, increasing concerns about health hazards for the most vulnerable, outdoor workers, and those without access to indoor cooling. The National Weather Service issued a specific warning to citizens to be on the lookout for signs of heat illness, to take breaks inside whenever feasible, and to stay hydrated.
“It is a little early so everything might not quite be where it would be if we were in the middle of summer,” said Marc Chenard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction. “It is these first couple events when everyone is getting used to it and just understanding what they need to do.”
Large areas of the east are predicted to set heat records, including Washington, which is anticipated to hit 96 °F (35.5 °C) on Saturday, and Boston, which could reach 93 °F (34 °C).
A half-marathon staged in Brooklyn on Saturday graphically demonstrated the harshness of the conditions. According to the Associated Press, which cited local officials, one runner collapsed and died, while six others were sent to the hospital as authorities warned that scorching temperatures and excessive humidity could cause heat illness.
The expected temperature at the start of the 147th Preakness Stakes at 7 pm in Baltimore, Maryland, is 91 degrees Fahrenheit, somewhat lower than the high of 94 degrees Fahrenheit and a full 18 degrees above normal.
Texas has already been battered by the heat, with Dallas seeing its hottest May on record, while the southwest has heated as high winds fanned wildfire hazards across the drought-stricken region.