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.
Severe thunderstorms with the risk of a few tornadoes will advance eastward across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest into Friday.
A dangerous outbreak of severe storms will strike the northern High Plains and Canadian Prairies on Wednesday.
Join us on Thursday for AccuWeather LIVE as we will discuss the debate of climate change and hurricane frequency and the top five things you need to know about summer weather.
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