June 1 Update: Updated figures for the entire month show heat records outnumbering cold records in May by over 40% (1054 vs. 748). For the week ending May 28, the ratio was almost 3:1. The number of heat records on May 26 has increased to 115 vs. only 7 cold records.
May 27 PM Update: The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reports that at total of 88 new daily high temperature records were set on May 26 in the U.S., following 164 on the previous day. A total of only 34 low temperature records were set on the 2 days. For the week ending yesterday, the ratio of heat records to cold records was about 2:1. Although January and February were relatively cold, May is continuing the trend of the last 3 months for the number of heat records to far exceed the number of cold records.
Several all-time May heat records were broken or tied across New England on May 26. The high of 94° at Worcester was a new high for the month of May and broke the old daily high from 1932 by 4°. Providence also set a monthly record of 96°, breaking the old daily record from 1965 by 5°. The high of 99° at Hartford tied the May record and broke the old daily record from 1965 by 5°.
Daily temperature records were also widespread from Pennsylvania through New York and New England and into southern Canada, where an extreme heat alert was issued for the Toronto area. Toronto's high of 31°C broke a record for the second straight day, and records were also set at Peterborough, Ottawa, North Bay and Sudbury. Canadian forecasters are anticipating a warmer than average summer following the warmest winter and warmest spring on record.
Images (click to enlarge): Number of daily high and low temperature records set in the U.S., data from NCDC, background image © Kevin Ambrose; Surface temperature map at 3 pm EDT, May 26, shows 90°+ temperatures across New England, eastern New York, and northward into Canada, from Unisys.
Cat out of the Bag
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