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Memorial Day Weekend Heat Wave Sets All-Time May Records, Could Last Through Thursday in Southeast
Published: May 27, 2019
A heat wave set new all-time May records Memorial Day weekend, sending temperatures soaring into the triple digits, and will persist over the next several days in parts of Florida, Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas.
So far, at least eight cities have either tied or set new all-time May monthly high-temperature records in this heat wave. Some of these cities did so on multiple days, recording their first triple-digit highs on record for May.
-Alma, Georgia: 100 degrees Saturday, then 101 degrees Sunday; the only other 100-plus-degree day in May previously was May 28, 1967.
-Augusta, Georgia: 100 degrees Saturday, then 101 degrees Sunday.
-Charleston, South Carolina (airport): 100 degrees Sunday and Monday; these were the first triple-digit highs in May there. The previous earliest 100-degree day in the year was June 2, 1985.
-Gainesville, Florida: 102 degrees Monday; this broke the previous all-time May record high of 101 degrees from May 31, 1945.
-Jacksonville, Florida: 100 degrees Monday; this tied the all-time record high for May.
-Macon, Georgia: 99 degrees Saturday, then 100 degrees Sunday; these were the first triple-digit highs in May there.
-Savannah, Georgia: 100 degrees Saturday, then 102 degrees Sunday and 101 degrees Monday; these were the first triple-digit highs in May there.
-Wilmington, North Carolina: 98 degrees Friday, then 100 degrees Sunday; these were the first triple-digit highs in May there.
On Sunday, the hottest temperatures in the nation were in parts of South Carolina and Georgia, rather than their typical late-May spot in Death Valley.
High pressure aloft will remain stubbornly in control over the Southeast for the next several days, diverting the jet stream to the north and minimizing any chance of a cold front passage.
Sinking, dry air across the Southeast will lead to plenty of sunshine, allowing heat to build. Dry soil from one of the nation's few areas of drought will only allow the ground to heat up more efficiently.
Highs 10 to 20 degrees above average will allow temperatures to soar into the mid- to upper 90s from parts of Virginia and the Carolinas to Georgia, Alabama and North Florida, lasting through much of this week. A few spots will see highs top out around 100 degrees from South Carolina to southern Georgia and northern Florida away from the Gulf and Atlantic beaches.
Heat Wave Outlook
Humidity will make it feel even hotter along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic beaches. Heat indices may approach 105 degrees in a few spots from southern Georgia to northern Florida.
Heat advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service for parts of the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and South Carolina.
A bit of heat relief is possible late this week into the weekend, shaving several degrees off these searing temperatures. But, overall, temperatures should still remain hotter than average.
Keep this all in mind if you have plans to head to the beach, a park or simply plan to hang out on your patio this week.
Minimize your time outdoors during the hottest times of day, typically from late morning through late afternoon. Drink plenty of liquids and wear light, loose-fitting clothing if you must be outside for longer periods of time.
Low temperatures will also be above average and generally in the 70s. Daily record-warm lows will be broken. Several locations from Atlanta to Brownsville, Texas, have already set new daily record-warm low temperatures in this heat wave.
Heat is one of America's biggest weather killers. The longevity of a heat wave can be as dangerous as the magnitude of the heat itself. Check on friends and family that may not have access to air conditioning.
The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.