Mid-June, with a week-long stretch of the year’s most prolonged daylight (nearly 15 hours, 18 minutes), typically ushers in summer heat and humidity in western New England, much like we had earlier this month.

But the forecast for Tuesday to Saturday indicates comfortably cool and mostly clear skies. There’s a 50-50 chance of some thunderstorms with heavy rain at times during the day and the evening today, and highs will only reach the upper 60s, compared to the normal mid-70s.

From Tuesday until Saturday, plenty of sunshine is expected with highs in the lower 70s, just slightly below normal. It will be dry, especially later in the week, and comfortable, an ideal time to enjoy outdoor recreation as we approach the summer solstice next Sunday at 11:31 p.m. It’s also the longest day of the year, precisely 15 hours, 17 minutes and 50 seconds.

Next weekend, a warmup is fairly certain, along with a chance for showers and possible thunderstorms, but it won’t be a washout and outdoor events should be safe from any adverse weather.

The long-range outlook from June 20 to 26 indicates slightly above normal temperatures for our region, with average amounts of rainfall for the first week of summer.

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

The intensity and duration of the Southwest heat wave and the severity of the drought will be one for the record books, according to forecasters.

Peak heat will expand in interior southern and central California, southern Nevada, western and southern Arizona and much of Utah, where records may topple in Salt Lake City with 100-degree highs through midweek. The Oregon and Washington state coastline will be the only western region with persistent showers and cooler than normal temperatures.

Phoenix is expecting “rare, dangerous and deadly” 110-degree heat, rising to 115 or more later in the week. The heat wave will push northward into the Rockies and Plains by Tuesday. Relief is likely by next Sunday throughout the region afflicted by the furnace-like conditions.

The hot weather is worsening the already harsh drought gripping parts of the West. “Exceptional drought” conditions, the most severe category, cover more than 26 percent of the West and nearly a tenth of the continental U.S. Around half of the country is in abnormally dry conditions or worse, affecting an estimated 143 million people.

California’s conditions have worsened, with exceptional drought now covering a third of the state, up from 25 percent a week ago. The area of extreme drought also grew in Utah and Colorado.

Early this week in the East, a dip in the jet stream should push chilly air for mid-June from Chicago to Washington, D.C.

In the South, moist Gulf air could cause locally heavy rain in northern Florida and southeastern Georgia. Central and southern Florida will see daily thunderstorms through Thursday, with highs well up in the 80s. Next weekend should be sunny and rain-free, still in the mid- to high-70s.

With the hurricane season underway, forecasters are keeping a close watch on a potential Gulf of Mexico storm that might develop next weekend, targeting Louisiana and east Texas.

The Outlook is today's look ahead at the week's weather, its impact on the Berkshires and beyond. Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com.