It's going to be a scorcher.
Summer doesn't officially start until June 21, but the region's second soggy spring heat wave has plopped down over the region like a wet wool coat. The first blistering blast was over the Memorial Day weekend.
The heat could reach as high as 100 degrees in some parts of the state today. Yesterday, the mercury climbed to 97 degrees in some areas.
The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures for today of about 93 degrees in the Lehighton, Summit Hill and Coaldale areas and about 96 degrees in the Slatington and Stroudsburg areas. There's also a chance of a thunderstorm.
On Wednesday, the heat was so high that some schools in Easton, Quakertown and Philadelphia canceled classes, according to published reports. The excessive heat buckled a section of I-76 in Philadelphia, where a lane was closed for several hours while repairs were made.
But it looks as though the heat will simmer down to mid-80s tomorrow. The weekend is expected to be cooler, with daytime temperatures in the mid-to-upper 70s and a 30 to 50 percent chance of thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly, New Jersey.
The cooler temperatures will come as a cold front drops southward from the upper Great Lakes, according to the National Weather Service. A large cold high will build across Quebec on Friday, and may bring a brief break to northern Pennsylvania on Friday from the showers and thunderstorms. However, the cold front will likely stall temporarily near or just south of the Mason-Dixon Line before lifting back north across Pennsylvania Friday into Saturday. With this front nearby, and another cold front headed our way from the Midwest, unsettled conditions will prevail for the upcoming weekend, NWS meteorologists said.
"It appears that (Wednesday was) the first record maximum of the recent warm spells," state climatologist Paul Knight said Wednesday. "The reading at 3 p.m. tied the record at 94 (degrees Fahrenheit), and this will almost certainly be broken as the afternoon progresses."
The Pennsylvania State Climatologist is a service to the Commonwealth by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and Penn State University in State College.
Alas, there is nothing new under the – blazing – sun.
Knight said that the "period from May 26-June 1 was quite warm, though there were five consecutive heat records set in 1925 during the first week of June, including the earliest 100 (degrees Fahrenheit) ever."
Bringing the heat record home to the immediate area, temperatures in Lehighton hit 99 degrees on June 7, 2010, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"The heat is courtesy of the hot, dry weather in the southern Plains (Texas and New Mexico)," Knight said. "But it will break on Friday and may not return until the second half of next week."
Meteorologists are forecasting temperatures this summer to "run a little bit above average, the same as last summer," said Kristin Kline, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey.
Temperatures on Wednesday in the Allentown area were about 15 degrees higher than the average high of 78 degrees, she said.
The normal temperature range in Carbon County for June is between 76-78 degrees, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center. Based at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, the NRCC is a partnership of the National Climatic Data Center, Regional Climate Centers, and State Climate Offices.
The high heat and humidity make it a no-brainer to not leave children or pets in the car while you dash into the store. People should also avoid working outside, drink lots of water and wear sunscreen.
The weather this spring has been a roller coster ride.
On May 26, the area was pummeled by severe thunderstorm that hurled hail – some the size of baseballs – on the Panther Valley area. The ice balls smashed windows and left cars dimpled with dents.
The storm spawned a tornado that sheared an 18-mile swath from Cressona to West Penn Township.
On May 23, storms generated tornadoes in Franklin and Walker townships.
Our climate region, Carbon, Schuylkill, Northampton and Lehigh counties, called the East Central Mountains region, had the third wettest April on record since 1895, according to the NRCC.