After months of cycling between stretches of hot and cool days, chilly evenings and bouts of storms, a solid stretch of summer heat has arrived.
A rare "backwards" weather pattern is bringing in hot air from the east and south during the next week, leading to five straight days of near or above 90-degree temperatures and humidity.
"Every day this week, it looks like high temperatures," National Weather Service meteorologist Anthony Gigi said.
Temperatures reached 93 degrees Monday at Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township on a day when the normal high is 86.
The reason for the expected heat wave is several retrograding high-pressure systems that are "moving backwards" from east to west instead of the usual west-to-east movement.
"There's a dome of hot air coming in from the Atlantic," Gigi said. "When you're not changing air masses this time of year, the sun's just going to cook."
One feature of the weather pattern: a lack of haziness.
"The air mass is a lot cleaner," Gigi said. "So when you look outside, it doesn't look hazy; it looks deep blue. It feels a lot worse than it looks like."
Gigi said the temperatures should stay the same until a chance of storms on Thursday or Friday or until a storm front comes in Saturday.
In the meantime, a heat advisory is posted for the most of the state, with an excessive heat warning in effect for Camden, Gloucester and several other counties.
Atlantic County released a statement offering advice to cope with the heat this week, including reducing physical activity or scheduling it for the cooler parts of the day.
Other advice included not leaving children or pets in enclosed cars, because temperatures can climb quickly to dangerous levels, and making sure pets have plenty of water. If pets are kept outside and under a tree for shade, the statement said, "keep in mind a tree providing shade for your pet in the morning may not offer the same shade coverage in the afternoon."
For agribusiness, "the No. 1 thing is to keep track of the workers in the fields, so they don't succumb to excessive heat problems," said Richard VanVranken, agricultural agent for Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Atlantic County.
"As far as crops go, you have to watch pretty carefully, coming from excessive, frequent rains," VanVranken said. "Get the irrigation pumps and pipes ready to go, because after a couple of days of this, crops start wilting."
Another problem to watch out for, he said: "sunscald," a sort of sunburn for produce that affects peppers and tomatoes, among others.
As far as anyone spending time outside, examples were few and far between Monday. At one point on a sunny afternoon, not a soul was to be seen at the All Wars Memorial Park in Linwood or the tennis courts across the street. The adjoining bike path only saw a few bikers ride by.
Some recreational activities still had to go on, of course, including several summer camps.
Galloway Summer Camp features a blow-up water slide. Margate Summer Camp stayed mostly inside the William H. Tighe School on Monday.
"But we're still bringing kids outside, because it's camp policy," Margate camp leader Denise Tinucci said.
Thankfully, this week already was planned to be cool, with water balloons on Wednesday and indoor field trips such as for pizza making at Bocca's restaurant.
"I don't know why. It just worked out that way," Tinucci said. "Lots of AC, and give them lots of water."
The Associated Press and Staff Writer Anjalee Khemlani contributed to this report.
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