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    Heat, Severe Storms Headline Memorial Day Weather

    By By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist
    May 31, 2011, 1:28:33 AM EDT

    "The northern Plains and northern Rockies will have to endure the most adverse weather..."

    With Memorial Day marking the unofficial start to summer, it seems fitting that much of the eastern half of the United States will be dealing with heat and humidity today. The heat, however, will also fuel severe weather.


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    Northeast/Midwest

    Water bottles and shorts will be a necessity across the Northeast and Midwest on Memorial Day with heat and humidity in control.

    Temperatures will soar into the 90s as far north as the lower Great Lakes and southern New England, making Memorial Day the first 90-degree day of this year for New York City, Pittsburgh and Toledo.

    Boston, Syracuse and Detroit will come close to cracking the 90-degree mark.

    AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures will be even higher due to the heat and humidity. These values will reach the triple-digits in Washington, D.C.

    In addition to taking steps to keep cool, residents across the Northeast will have to keep an eye to the sky on Memorial Day. Spotty thunderstorms, which will occur southward to North Carolina, are set to briefly threaten outdoor plans.

    Showers and thunderstorms will also put a damper on the holiday across the upper Great Lakes, including Duluth.

    South

    Heat will also grip the South on Memorial Day, sending temperatures in many locations into the 90s.

    Highs in the lower 90s are 10 degrees above what late-May temperatures typically warm to in Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta and Nashville.

    Unlike the Northeast, thunderstorms will be absent from the South on Memorial Day. Mainly afternoon thunderstorms will make the spine of the Appalachians, northern North Carolina and the Florida Peninsula the exceptions.

    Those heading to Florida's east coast to beat the heat and blazing sunshine are being warned that gusty onshore winds will elevate the rip current danger.

    Northern Plains/Northern Rockies

    The northern Plains and northern Rockies will have to endure the most adverse weather across the United States on Memorial Day.

    Chilly rain will renew the threat for flooding across Montana and western North Dakota. As some of the rain extends back into northern Utah, enough cold air will be in place for snow in the highest elevations.

    Meanwhile, violent thunderstorms will threaten Memorial Day plans from the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota to western Kansas in the afternoon and evening.

    Cities at risk for these potentially damaging thunderstorms include Fargo, Sioux Falls and Dodge City.

    Southern Plains

    An isolated strong thunderstorm will extend southward from western Kansas into West Texas during the afternoon of Memorial Day. Otherwise, the weather for the holiday will be dry, warm and windy throughout the southern Plains.

    The wind will keep the fire danger high across New Mexico and West Texas, but not the rest of the southern Plains due to higher humidity being present.

    The wind in Dallas, Oklahoma City and Houston will instead be more of a nuisance for those trying to hold onto their plates at picnics.

    Along the Texas coastline, the gusty winds will contribute to a high rip current danger.

    West

    Unlike the eastern half of the United States, heat will be absent from the western-third of the United States on Memorial Day.

    While milder than today's highs, temperatures today will still remain cool for late May in Boise, Reno, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. Unseasonably cool air will also encompass Sacramento, San Francisco and Phoenix.

    The Southwest will not have to contend with rain or gusty winds ruining the holiday. Instead, it is across the Northwest where showers will occur.

    The good news is that these showers will be spotty in nature and prevent Memorial Day from being a total washout.

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