Millions of people will endure a brutal heat wave with temperatures soaring above the century mark, and poor air quality will add to their woes.
Portions of the Plains have been gripped by 100-degree heat for days with a large area of high pressure promoting sizzling sunshine. That same high has been promoting calm conditions and stagnant air, trapping dust, ozone and smoke.
The worst air quality conditions are in place around the Houston area, where the Air Quality Index (AQI) is considered unhealthy. The National Weather Service issued an air quality alert for surrounding areas of Houston, warning: "ACTIVE CHILDREN AND ADULTS...THE ELDERLY AND PEOPLE WITH RESPIRATORY DISEASES SUCH AS ASTHMA...SHOULD AVOID PROLONGED OUTDOOR EXERTION."
Smoke from the Colorado wildfires is also contributing to unhealthy conditions for sensitive groups, including the elderly and those with respiratory problems, in Colorado Springs, Boulder and Denver.
As the high shifts east over the next several days, heat will continue to surge into the Midwest, South and mid-Atlantic. Unfortunately, air quality issues are also anticipated.
Areas south of the Ohio River are in for the worst conditions as far as heat and air quality go into the weekend.
Farther north, some scattered showers and thunderstorms that will help mix the air and diminish the air quality concerns will ignite from the Dakotas to the mid-Atlantic coast.
The Memorial Day weekend will begin cool, windy and rainy in New England and part of the mid-Atlantic.
On the two-year anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that leveled Joplin, Mo., the town has deployed assistance to Moore, Okla.
The tornado tore through a path 17 miles long on Monday and had wind speeds as high as 200 mph.
Wednesday will be drier and less humid for recovery and clean up efforts.
The same storm system responsible for producing violent thunderstorms in Oklahoma recently will reach the Atlantic Seaboard later Thursday.
Strong thunderstorms impacted areas from Texas and Louisiana to New England with large hail and damaging winds.
Waterville, ME (1832)
Kennebec Flood discharged 140,000 cubic feet of water per second -- high stage not equalled until 1901, and not exceeded until 1936.
Atlantic City, NJ (1991)
Record high of 89 degrees after a record low of 38 degrees. Record lows were also set May 19,20, & 21st.
Lewistown, ME (1911)
101 degrees -- hottest ever in New England during May.