Staying cool, staying hydrated and staying out of the sun for long periods of time will be key over the weekend as the core of this six-day heat wave continues on.

In the what I’ll call stage one of our heat wave, we were drawing in southwesterly air.

This tapped into the hwot and humid Gulf of Mexico, which brought mainland highs into the 90s and a heat index into the 100s.

Now, our mid-level ridge, formerly positioned south of Bermuda, will extend into the southeastern United States.

Since high pressure spins clockwise, that puts us in a westerly flow.

With the high dew points already in place, this taps into the blowtorch mid-level temperatures in the Rockies, which arrives this weekend.

We will start off in the mid- to upper 70s Friday morning, with a good amount of sunshine. The mostly-sunny sky will continue throughout the day.

High temperatures will reach the mid-90s on the mainland, with upper 80s at the shore. Factor in an “oppressive” dew point in the mid-70s and you have a heat index between 100-105. An excessive heat watch will likely turn into a warning by the afternoon.

What does the heat index forecast have to be for an excessive heat warning?

This is the National Weather Service's criteria to issue an excessive heat warning (name is different on the image). Notice how Salem, Cumberland, Atlantic and Cape May counties are in red. This means a 110 degree heat index is needed for a heat advisory, joining the southern mid-Atlantic. 

The high amount of water vapor in the air will not allow the air to cool off fast. We’ll be in the 90s until around sunset, then fall through the 80s. If you have a pool, it’ll be a great night swim. I still believe most places will stay at or above 80 come Saturday morning, something we see on occasion (but saw plenty of last year). If we do, we have the record for Saturday’s record maximum low temperature.

As advertised, Saturday will be the hottest and most sweltering day of this year. It’s fitting, as this is the warmest stretch of the year, on average. Yes, I still have a record high of 101, but note that some of you may be 1-2 degrees cooler (or vice versa). The shore, on the west-southwest wind, will roast too.

It’s very important to spend as little time outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., even on the sand. The heat index will peak in the low 110s, which happens about once every other year. The storms should stay to our west, killing any notion of a cooldown.

Saturday night will be very balmy. You’ll want to stay hydrated, even on an evening run. Ice cream will melt quickly. Temperatures will stay in the 90s into the evening and then bottom out in the low 80s come Sunday morning, likely another record.

The ridge breaks down just a hair on Sunday. Temperatures will respond with a small drop down of their own. We’ll barely notice. Temperatures will rise to 90 by late morning. It’ll feel like the upper 100s during the afternoon. The shore will stay in the 90s as well with an off-shore breeze. The ocean will feel beautiful.

Finally, please welcome Alexa back to the weather column! She’ll update you on the heat warnings, and the cool down to come.

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