Record cold grips eastern U.S. over the Memorial Day weekend

Record cold grips eastern U.S. over the Memorial Day weekend

Numerous cold temperature records have been broken in parts of the eastern U.S. over the Memorial Day weekend while a heat wave is forecast to reach dangerous levels for some locations in the west, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). In addition to the unseasonal cold in the east, some of the highest elevations saw fresh snow. Meanwhile, in the west, Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories are in place for areas where heat-related illnesses are possible.

Much of the eastern half of the United States, particularly the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, experienced a cold Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday, May 29, numerous locations in the east set records for their coldest high temperatures or came very close.

"More than two dozen locations from Ohio and Kentucky, eastward to southern New England either broke or tied daily records for lowest high temperature on May 29," AccuWeather reported.

"In addition, record low temperatures were broken or tied across portions of the Great Lakes, Northeast and other areas in the northern tier of the country."

Boston's 10 °C (50 °F) was colder on Saturday, May 29 than it was on either Christmas or St. Patrick's Day.

Washington's 15 °C (59 °F) was the second coldest on record for May 29 and the coldest high temperature this late in the spring since 1997, when the temperature was 14.4 °C (58 °F) on June 3.

Baltimore's 14.4 °C (58 °F) was its coldest on record (since the late 1880s), as well as Philadelphia's 12.2 °C (54 °F) and Pittsburgh 10.6 °C (51 °F). New York City's 10.6 °C (51 °F) tied the coldest temperature on record, while Albany's 10 °C (50 °F) was its coldest.

Several areas in the Northeast also had record cold minimum temperatures, while the snow was observed in the mountains of Vermont.

"In addition to the unseasonable chill and rain, some of the highest elevations in the Northeast even woke up to a fresh coating of slushy snow to start the holiday weekend," AccuWeather added.

By Sunday, May 30, the cold was diminishing over the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, centering around Washington and Baltimore.

"A cool, damp northeasterly flow that wrapped around a storm tracking through the Northeast is generally to blame for the cold and gray weekend," said AccuWeather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham.

"As moisture-laden air from the Atlantic Ocean wrapped around the storm, it tended to get wedged in areas from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Coast, resulting in cloudy skies, drizzle, and in some cases, a steady rainfall," he explained.

While scores of record cold temperatures gripped the east, historic heat is expected to sweep across the wast to start the month of June. 

"The western United States is wasting no time to start meteorological summer as high temperatures are forecast to soar well above average from the Desert Southwest to the Pacific Northwest through at least Thursday (June 3)," the NWS stated. 

"Simmering and record-breaking heat will be particularly likely today from central California to northwest Oregon, before expanding into the northern Great Basin on Wednesday (June 2)."

High temperatures are forecast to spread as far north as central Washington and likely north-central Montana. Some locations are at risk of facing daily record hot temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday.

Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories have been issued for areas where heat-related illnesses are likely if precautions are not taken, added NSW.

Featured image: 850 hPa Temperature Anomaly for May 30, 2021. Credit: TropicalTidbits

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