Like a visitor who shows up to the party hours ahead of time, summer-like heat this past week offered a preview of the season still four weeks away.

While some Berkshirians frolicked in parks and on lakefront beaches, others were caught off-guard and checked the calendar to confirm that it’s only May and that, just a few days ago, there were complaints about chilly breezes and clouded-over skies.

Friday’s high of 85 at Pittsfield Municipal Airport tied the previous record for May 21 set in 2013. Over the weekend, it was no wonder many urbanites fled to the countryside to escape a record-tying high of 94 on Saturday at New York’s Kennedy Airport.

The warm spell, well above Berkshire County’s peak daytime average high of 79 during the second half of July, eased late Sunday as the leading edge of seasonably cooler air sliced through the region. The refreshing air mass from eastern Canada should keep our weather pleasant, with low humidity, until Tuesday night.

Then, starting Wednesday, a surge of tropical heat and humidity could send thermometers here toward 90, a rare hot spell in late May for western New England. Take heed, anyone delaying installation of air conditioners or filling up pools.

After potential showers and thunderstorms Wednesday evening, another cooler, drier air mass drifts over us on Thursday and hangs around.

What about the getaway Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer around here? A low-confidence extended forecast indicates plenty of clouds, temperatures staying slightly below 70 during all three days, and a risk of showers. There might even be a washout, according to the National Weather Service in Albany, but we’re urged to wait for details to come into better focus.

Nationally, many people will be heading away from home, according to the AAA auto club, with highways far busier over the holiday period than last year. But traffic will still fall short of pre-pandemic levels. More than 37 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home, up 60 percent from last year, which was the lowest since AAA began keeping records in 2000. If the prediction for the weekend is right, it would still be 6 million people fewer than left home over Memorial Day in 2019.

If you’re heading to the Cape, the Islands or the Rhode Island shore, a mix of clouds and sun is likely, with seasonable highs in the mid-60s and ocean waters still very chilly. The best chance for a rain-free, mostly sunny weekend can be found farther north along the Maine coast from Portland to Acadia National Park, and in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Long-distance travelers to the Carolinas southward to Florida should enjoy a typically warm, late May holiday weekend following record-setting heat on Wednesday. California looks dry, with 60s in the north and mid-70s in L.A.

The Outlook is today's preview of the week's weather, its impact on the Berkshires and beyond. Clarence Fanto can be reached at