While the rest of the country is waiting for prolonged summerlike warmth, it has already arrived in the Desert Southwest.
Phoenix, Yuma and Palm Springs will continue their streak of 100-degree weather over the next couple of days. Within this period, Las Vegas and Tucson are also expected to reach the century mark for the first time this year.
Temperatures will also continue to warm up along the Plains through the end of the week, breaking the 90-degree mark for the first time this month in many areas.
A building "ridge" of high pressure throughout all heights of the atmosphere will continue to be the driving force behind the unseasonable and near-record warmth in the western half of the nation over the next few days.
Triple-digit heat will be the norm again later today and on Thursday across the interior Southwest.
Phoenix will challenge the 15-year-old record high of 106 today, while Las Vegas will approach the record of 102 degrees from 2009 on Thursday. Such high temperatures are more typical for late June or July rather than mid-May.
Some of the hottest desert locations, such as Gila Bend, Ariz., or Death Valley, Calif., could reach or exceed a sizzling 110 degrees each afternoon.
Meanwhile, many across the western Plains will notice a big difference in their thermometer readings today compared to yesterday. Rapid City, S.D., will take a run at 90 degrees today, nearly 15 degrees warmer than the high temperature on Tuesday.
The heat across the nation's heartland will reach its peak on Friday.
If you aren't a big fan of the heat, you can certainly hang your hat on the fact that it will be a dry heat. Low humidity levels will keep AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures close to actual thermometer readings.
This will not be the case as the warmth builds into the Mississippi Valley and eventually farther East this weekend and early next week. The incorporation of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will make the warmth feel stickier there.
While temperatures will not drop off significantly across the deserts this weekend, there will be a big cooldown over the central and northern Plains come this weekend.
Widespread readings in the 80s and 90s will be replaced by more comfortable 60s and 70s, ideal temperatures for outdoor activities. Unfortunately, some strong thunderstorms will accompany the transition.
A powerful storm will bring disruptive weather from Spain to France and Italy for Christmas Day.
As California heads into its third consecutive dry winter with no relief in sight, firefighters continue to battle a late-fall blaze in Big Sur.
After several days of unseasonable warmth, bitter cold and rounds of snow will continue to spread across the Western and Central states into this weekend.
Similar to the days prior to Thanksgiving, the worst weather will focus on the days prior to Christmas as millions of travelers take to the roads and skies in the U.S. and southern Canada.
An abrupt and abnormal cold wave gripped parts of southeastern Texas in early December, catching many off-guard, including two native Southern California bobcats recently transferred to the area.
Warm air is forecast to surge into much of the eastern half of the nation by the weekend and will be accompanied by heavy rain and flooding risk in some locations.
Little Rock, AR (1998)
282 straight days without subfreezing temperatures, longest streak on record.
Black Hills, SD (1964)
Chinook: temp. rise 0 degrees to 50 degrees.
A cold outbreak sent the temperature plummeting to 3 degrees below zero at Nantucket, MA and to 11 degrees below zero at Boston, MA