Strong to severe thunderstorms are due to hit New York City later this afternoon, bringing 70 mph winds and brief relief from this muggiest of Mondays, before temperatures climb back up towards the 90s. It’s hot, but don’t call it a “heat wave.”
“We haven’t hit that just yet,” says Carlie Buccola, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Despite the fact that this week’s weather will warm up considerably, a heat wave is technically defined by three consecutive days with temperatures at 90 or above.
“By the end of this week, however, we are forecasting temperatures into the 90s for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — so New York City could see the first heat wave of the season.”
The dome of high pressure and prolonged period of heat — known as a “heat dome” — is quite common for midsummer, Buccola says, and it’s caused by a combination of factors. After Monday’s cold front, high pressure will build on the atmosphere like a dome, pushing hot air to the surface and keeping it there. The heat streak is intensified by winds from the southwest, bringing in more hot and humid air.
The mayor’s office issued a release reminding New Yorkers to “beat the heat” and take advantage of cooling centers open throughout the city, which they can find using the NYC Emergency Management’s Cooling Center Finder.
Updated: Strong to possibly severe thunderstorms are possible across the region this afternoon and evening. pic.twitter.com/POvzBPmkGu
— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) July 18, 2016
The NWS’s severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for the Tri-State area from 2 p.m. into the evening.
“We’re expecting winds of up to 70 mph this afternoon,” Buccola says. “It’s relatively risky weather conditions — people should remain alert and stay safe.”