Cool air to rush across Northeast in wake of record-breaking heat

People across the Northeast have been experiencing a case of weather whiplash this weekend as Mother Nature turns on the natural air conditioner. AccuWeather meteorologists say temperatures can plunge 30 degrees Fahrenheit in some locations as a cold front sweeps away the summertime heat that kicked off the month of June.

Temperatures fitting of the new season started right on cue with the beginning of meteorological summer on Thursday, June 1. Burlington, Vermont, residents experienced the earliest 96-degree temperature reading in the city's history on Thursday, beating out the previous record of June 7, 2021. The first 90-degree day of the year there usually does not take place until June 19.

For most, the heat didn't let up on Friday. New York City recorded a high of 91 degrees, their second day in the 90s this year. Philadelphia climbed to 95 degrees, while Baltimore peaked at a scorching 97 degrees Friday afternoon. This broke the record high for the date of 96 F, which was set a century ago. The heat held on longest in the Washington, D.C. region, climbing into the mid 90s on Friday and peaking in the mid to upper 80s the following day.

Temperatures have taken a dramatic tumble in the wake of a cold front that will continue to charge southwestward through New England and into the mid-Atlantic region this weekend. When cool air comes in from this direction, meteorologists call it a backdoor cold front.

With this setup, coastal locations are likely to see the lowest temperatures, forecasters say.

In Portland, Maine, a high of 85 F of Friday plunged to just 55 degrees the following day. This is only 2 degrees warmer than the coolest high temperature for the date, which was set in 1915.

Boston was only marginally warmer, falling to 57 degrees on Saturday.

The cool air will have staying power across New England, meteorologists say. By the middle of this week, temperatures may rebound into only the lower 60s near the coast and may not climb much higher across areas farther inland.

Farther south and west, Buffalo and Philadelphia recorded temperatures 10-20 degrees lower on Saturday compared to Friday afternoon. These cities fell to 73 and 76 Fahrenheit, respectively.

Baltimore and Washington, D.C., are not expected to experience as significant of a cooldown compared to locations farther north and east. Still, temperatures dropped closer to the historical average in both cities beginning Saturday, and this should continue into the new week. High temperatures typically land in the lower 80s in early June for this section of the Interstate 95 corridor.

In addition to the lower temperatures, some parts of the Northeast may have rain to deal with, as a disturbance lingers offshore. Stead rain should be confined to coastal portions of Maine and New Hampshire, though more intermittent showers are likely over much more of New England, according to the latest forecasts.


A persistent dip in the jet stream this week is expected to occasionally generate showers and thunderstorms throughout the first week of June.

Despite this pattern, the weather across most of the Northeast may remain bone dry given the hit-or-miss nature of the wet weather, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Last week's United States Drought Monitor report indicated a rapidly growing area of abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions in the Northeast. A record-dry May in some locations contributed to these conditions.

"May 2023 ended up being the driest on record for places such as Harrisburg and Williamsport, Pennsylvania," AccuWeather Senior On-Air Meteorologist Justin Povick said. Typically 3.75 to 4 inches of rain falls in the region during May.

Some lawns are starting to turn brown as a result of the lack of water, which is more typical of the latter part of the summer. Water levels on small streams are also being affected by the unusual dryness.

AccuWeather meteorologists say these conditions are likely to worsen given the weather pattern expected through this week. However, for some locations, there may be enough rain to water parched lawns and gardens and at least ease concerns of a flash drought.

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