Labor Day weekend may mark the unofficial end to summer for many, but Mother Nature didn’t get the memo this year.
Nearly 100 temperature records may fall this holiday weekend as parts of the central and eastern United States sizzle under heat that feels more like July than early September.
As temperatures soar on land, rough surf and an elevated rip current risk may make beach plans dangerous for a large swath of the Atlantic coast, while a surge of moisture could spark stormy weather for portions of the West and raise the risk of flash flooding.
July-like heat sends temperatures skyrocketing
Temperatures 10 to 20 degrees above normal levels for September could break or tie close dozens of records as heat builds over Labor Day weekend and into Tuesday.
High temperatures on Saturday will climb into the 90s to low 100s across most of the Plains and Upper Midwest. This will include cities like Omaha, Nebraska, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
By Sunday, sweltering heat will expand across much of the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and even portions of the mid-Atlantic. Minneapolis is forecast to reach a scorching 100 degrees on Sunday, which would break a high temperature record for that date that has stood for nearly 100 years.
On Labor Day Monday, conditions will feel more like July across nearly two-thirds of the US.
Philadelphia is forecast to be hotter than both Miami and Orlando on Monday as temperatures there soar more than 10 degrees above normal.
In the heat of the afternoon, temperatures in the 90s and low 100s will stretch from the Plains to the East Coast and challenge records in major metros like Chicago, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia.
The high temperature in New York City could surpass the 90-degree mark on Monday, something the city fell short of during August and has only reached eight times this summer. That count could increase on both Monday and Tuesday.
Temperatures in most of the Southeast will hover around normal, bringing some relief for a region that baked in record heat in August. Many cities along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, including Houston, New Orleans and Tampa, recorded their hottest August of all-time, according to data from the National Weather Service.
Rip current risk enhanced by tropical troublemakers
A handful of tropical systems hundreds of miles away are churning up the Atlantic Ocean and may lead to danger for people headed to the beach.
Rip currents can be fatal to even the strongest swimmers. In June, rip currents claimed 11 lives in under two weeks in Florida and Alabama.
Powerful Hurricane Franklin and Post-Tropical Cyclone Idalia – the latter of which is packing strong winds despite losing its tropical status – are creating rough seas that spread out hundreds of miles from the center of each storm.
These rough seas can prove dangerous for any boaters along the Atlantic coast and will keep the risk of hazardous rip currents elevated.
Rip current alerts are in effect through Saturday night from South Carolina to southern Florida. The risk of rip currents is also expected to remain elevated through the holiday weekend farther north into portions of New Jersey and New York.
Flash flood risk for the West
A surge of monsoonal moisture will produce stormy conditions from the Southwest to the Rockies this weekend and elevate the risk of flash flooding.
A Level 2 of 4 risk of excessive rainfall is in effect for portions of the interior West on Saturday and Sunday, according to the Weather Prediction Center.
Enough rain to trigger flash flooding can occur in parts of Arizona, Nevada and Utah on Saturday. The threat will shift northward on Sunday to include portions of Idaho and Wyoming in addition to Utah.
Wet weather will keep parts of the Northwest and California damp and cooler than average through the weekend, but the flooding risk will be relatively low.
Showers may begin as early as Saturday in Seattle and Portland and continue through Monday. Temperatures in these cities will struggle to climb on Sunday and Monday and only reach the upper 60s in Seattle and low 70s in Portland – nearly 10 degrees below normal for early September.
Places like Los Angeles and San Francisco may have the best weather in the country for Labor Day weekend. Both cities will start the holiday weekend with a few showers but will end up dry, sunny and seasonable on Monday.