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When will the heat wave end in Massachusetts?

Next Weather: WBZ morning forecast for July 12, 2024
Next Weather: WBZ morning forecast for July 12, 2024 01:32

BOSTON - It's been a full week of excessive heat, with high temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s in the Boston area and most of Massachusetts.

We're racing towards one of the most humid months on record, currently just behind July 2023.

Record heat?

Temperatures are nowhere near record-breaking though. We are not talking about 100-degree heat like we had back in 2022 and nearly had back in June. But, this time around, the heat and humidity are more relentless. 

Unfortunately, we have a LONG way to go before we get any real relief.

The next several days are more of the same - high temperatures near 90 with dew points in the mid-70's, about as high as they get around here. That's rare, something that's normal down south in cities like New Orleans.

Right now, there is no fresh, crisp, Canadian air mass that's on the way to save the day.

Looking at the "feels-like" temperatures for the next seven days, you can see the Boston area never dips below 90. In fact, we expect things to get worse before they get better. It appears there will be another spike in the heat and humidity early next week. 

WBZ-TV graphic CBS Boston

What is an official heat wave?

Many have asked that question. The short answer is - does it really matter?

An official heat wave in the Northeast is loosely defined as at least three consecutive days with temperatures at 90 degrees or higher.

So, going by the books, there is NO heat wave in Boston or Worcester. They haven't even hit 90 yet in this current stretch!

But, travel a bit to the north and west in Massachusetts, and temperatures have been a few degrees hotter. In places like Bedford, Fitchburg and much of the Merrimack Valley, we do in fact have an official heat wave as of Tuesday. 

Kind of silly right? I agree. This is why I don't think we should get too caught up in declaring a heat wave or not.

Go online and you will find all sorts of different definitions for a heat wave. Three days of 90-degree heat in places like Dallas or the desert Southwest might be considered a "cooldown."

The National Weather Service defines it as "a period of abnormally hot weather generally lasting more than two days... with or without high humidity.".

Basically, it is all relative. Each area of the country and the world defines their heat waves by what their typical weather or climatology is.

When is the heat wave ending?

The bottom line - it is going to be uncomfortably hot and humid for at least the next seven days in the Boston area.

The best guess as to when this pattern breaks is probably later next week. Most models point towards a cooler and drier air mass arriving around next Thursday, July 18. That's a long way off and things could easily change.

I would also anticipate that the current pattern is likely to repeat itself several times through the rest of this summer. The oceans are exceedingly warm, La Nina is coming on and several factors are lining up that would lead us to conclude the heat and humidity are here to stay. 

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