Summerlike Heat Scorches Central US, South but Avoids Northeast

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
May 6, 2014; 4:56 AM ET
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Play video Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams discusses the temperature extremes heading for the Northeast this week in this video.

A surge of heat expanding from the southern Plains to the Midwest and South this week will shun much of the Northeast.

Temperatures soared to over 100 degrees in portions of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas this past weekend and will continue to challenge records much of this week.

Wichita, Kansas, experienced its earliest 100-degree temperature in 126 years of record keeping on Sunday. A high of 102 F surpassed the prior record high for the date of 94 set in 1963.

Daily record highs were also set in Oklahoma City, Fort Smith, Arkansas, Springfield, Missouri, and Amarillo, Texas.

Extreme heat will continue over the southern and central Plains through midweek and it is forecast to swell northward into part of the Midwest and eastward across the South as the week progresses.

One or more days with high temperatures in the 80s will reach Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

Ninety-degree temperatures are projected to reach Charlotte, North Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia, where record highs will also be challenged. Temperatures will reach well into the 80s most days this week in Atlanta.

Meanwhile, the warmth will not make it into portions of the Northeast and upper Great Lakes.

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On one or more days an extreme temperature contrast zone is forecast from southwest to northeast over the mid-Atlantic. A distance of 100 miles could mark the difference between temperatures in the 80s and the 50s.

Cool air is likely to hold its ground across New England and much of New York state.

An area of clouds, showers and thunderstorms may accompany the temperature contrast zone. As a result, temperatures may fluctuate substantially from one day to the next along the contrast zone.

According to Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "The boundary of warmth and chill is likely to meander north and south across the Upper Midwest and mid-Atlantic this week."

While millions of people may welcome the warmth with open arms, some may find it difficult to adjust to the sudden surge of summerlike conditions.

Be sure to increase your intake of fluids as the temperature increases.

Remember to never leave children and pets unattended in vehicles. Even in early May the temperature inside a closed vehicle can climb to life-threatening levels in a matter of minutes.

According to the San Francisco State University, Department of Geosciences, in the United States, the number of children that died from heatstroke by being left in vehicles during 2013 was 44.

As you trade long-sleeve clothing for short-sleeve items be sure to increase your use of sunscreen.

On portions of the Plains, the combination of extreme heat, gusty winds and dry air will continue to elevate the wildfire danger. A wildfire that broke out in Guthrie, Oklahoma, spread rapidly on gusty winds amidst dry conditions. Much of the central and southern High Plains continue to struggle with building drought.

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