Portions of the U.S. were in the grip of a pre-summer heatwave Saturday as high temperatures swept across the upper Midwest and headed toward the Northeast.
Historic high temperatures affected parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, with St. Cloud, Minnesota (97), Eau Claire, Wisconsin (93), and Minneapolis-St. Paul (93) breaking decades-old records.
The problem was dire in the Twin Cities, which is traditionally prepared for bitter cold but not record spring heat, said National Weather Service meteorologist Nick Carletta.
“People with central air can handle it,” he said. “Those dependent on windows—it will be stressful for them.”
Overnight low temperatures into Sunday could be higher than normal daytime highs for this time of year, Carletta said.
“Our normal max is 76 for this date,” he said. “There’s a good chance we won’t fall below that for our low tonight.”
Hennepin County, home of Minneapolis, announced Friday that cooling centers would be open for residents in need. Highs above 90 were expected from Montana to Minnesota.
The culprit was “a large, upper-level ridge that is anchored over the the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest,” the weather service said in a public discussion.
The ridge was headed toward the Northeast, where New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned of high temperatures in the 90s for much of the state through Wednesday.
“The first heat wave of 2021 is about to blanket the state with sweltering temperatures and thick humidity for several days beginning Sunday, and I urge all New Yorkers to take action to prevent heat-related illnesses or injury,” Cuomo said in a statement.
High temperature marks for Liberty International Airport (94) in Newark, New Jersey, and LaGuardia Airport (93) were broken for Saturday’s date, the weather service said.
Heat was expected throughout the weekend for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the weather service said, with Central Park’s first 90-degree reading forecast for Saturday or Sunday.
Back in the hottest place on earth, California’s Death Valley, a high-pressure system produced temperatures in the high 110s, with an excessive heat warning in effect for nearby Las Vegas.
The first day of summer is June 20.
Matthew Johnson contributed.