Relief from Eastern Heat, Drought Coming in Stages

July 8, 2010; 10:15 AM ET
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Two events are working to break down the punishing heat wave in the East into the weekend.

Essentially, the heat is being attacked from the east and the west.

Big Sea Breeze

The counterclockwise rotation of a storm spinning offshore of the Carolinas is allowing an ocean flow of air to expand from New England into the coastal mid-Atlantic Thursday.

While this air will prevent 100-degree temperatures, it is more humid than the air that hovered over the same area much of the week. As a result, while official temperatures will stop shy of record levels from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and eastern Pennsylvania, northeastward through New England, it could feel worse due to higher humidity.

The clash of the different air masses and higher humidity may also be enough to generate spotty thunderstorms from Maine to eastern Virginia into the evening.

Cold Front to the Rescue

Meanwhile, a slow-moving cool front, the same system responsible for locally damaging thunderstorms at the Peter Frampton concert stage in Oklahoma and flooding issues throughout the Plains earlier this week, will arrive from the west beginning Friday. However, this system could take the better part of the weekend to clear portions of New England.

The front will bring sporadic heavy rainfall to the region and briefly halt the building drought conditions for some areas. In fact, a few locations could be slammed by a torrential downpour and flash flooding at some point Friday into the weekend.

Some areas will be missed by thunderstorm downpours entirely.

Even in areas that do get hit, the sun can draw out a half an inch of moisture from the ground in a single day. It will not take long for the topsoil to bake all over again.

Not all areas in the green will get this rainfall. However, it is impossible to tell at this point where the "ripoff" places will be.

The second system will not send high temperatures tumbling back into the 70s and nighttime lows into the 50s in the major I-95 cities, but it will take the edge off the extreme nature of the heat and humidity. Some areas over the Appalachian Mountains will get the "aahhh" with the 70s and 50s routine this weekend.

Heat Shoved South and West Briefly

Before the one system approaches from the Atlantic Ocean and the other front arrives from the Plains, a phenomenon known to meteorologists as compressional heating could bring the hottest weather yet for portions of the central and southern Appalachians, the eastern Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley and interior Carolinas Thursday. Air that is sinking is being compressed and, in turn, becomes hotter.

The cities of Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati may notice a spike in temperatures Thursday, over other days this week.

More Heat Waves Likely This Summer

Chances are this heat wave will not be the last for the region, as Long Range Expert Joe Bastardi expects the memorable year for weather events to continue with more heat coming throughout this summer for the East and other parts of the nation.

Related to the Story:

Bastardi's Summer Forecast

It's All about the Wind

Northeast Satellite

Finding Escapes from the Heat

Heat Affecting Mid-Atlantic Corn Crop Pollination

Eastern Heat Wave Setting Records

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