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Summer-like weather to linger until mid-week in the Berkshires, with some showers possible

Three friends kayak on Windsor Lake

Friends kayak from the boat launch at Windsor Lake in North Adams this week as temperatures hit 80 degrees. From left are Bill Waterhouse, Kim Loring and Nick Clark. The summer-like warmth will continue for a few more days before a return to more seasonable temperatures early next week. 

Enjoying the summer sneak preview?

Even as it feels we skipped right past spring with this week’s run of far-above-normal temperatures and four days of sunshine mixed with fair weather clouds, the party’s going to end soon with a return to more seasonable daytime highs and nighttime lows starting on Tuesday.

Until then, it will feel like late June, with highs topping 80 and a chance of thunderstorms beginning Saturday, followed by a better than even likelihood on Sunday and Monday. Showers are needed — a very wet April has been followed by a mostly dry first half of May, along with a few days of strong winds that prompted wildfire alerts in Massachusetts and eastern New York state.

With landscaping and the growing season well under way, daily watering of gardens and farm areas is recommended, unless or until showers give the area a good drenching.

Saturday’s early morning clouds will yield to partial sunshine later on, with warmth and humidity returning as highs approach 80 — nearly 15 degrees above the normal maximum for mid-May. The remnants of an offshore storm that hovered off the coast of Florida and Georgia for the past week could trigger brief, scattered showers and thunderstorms late in the day.

On Sunday, with the disturbance passing over the Northeast region, there’s a better chance of showers and rumbles of thunder during the afternoon and evening, with partly to mostly cloudy skies and highs again hovering around 80. Sunday night will remain warm and muggy by May standards, with lows reaching 60, instead of the more typical mid- and upper-40s.

A repeat performance is likely on Monday, the last day of above-normal daytime temperatures for a while. The arrival of a cooler air mass by Monday night should be accompanied by fairly widespread thundershowers.

The extended forecast for Tuesday through Thursday indicates a drying trend with normal highs and lows. The midweek period is shaping up as comfortably mild, rain-free and ideal for outdoor recreation. Next weekend looks like a return to summer-like warmth with no rain indicated.

The government’s Climate Prediction Center outlook for May 20-26 shows warmer than normal temperatures with below-average rainfall in western New England.

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

A hot spell continues in the Desert Southwest, Southern Plains, and western Gulf Coast for the next few days, while cool Pacific air advances through the Northwest and points east. The Midwest and Mississippi Valley may see some severe storms on Sunday and Monday. The heat will hang tough in the Southwest with highs topping 100 in some spots.

Southern California’s drought continues with no rain in sight through next week, with highs in the 80s dropping into the mid-70s from Wednesday onward. Northern California will be dry, with partly cloudy skies and highs in the low- to mid-60s through the week.

The unseasonable warmth will spread into the Deep South starting Monday, with the most persistent and record-breaking heat centered in Texas — where numerous daily records are likely to be broken, and Louisiana. The heat should ease from midweek onward in that region as daytime highs soar in the Southeast.

Beginning Wednesday, multiple areas of showers and thunderstorms are likely across the northern half of the Plains and Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley and central Appalachians, with heavy rainfall possible.

South Florida will be sunny most of the week with highs in the mid-80s, though thundershowers are expected on Friday. The state’s Gulf Coast should be rain-free until Friday, with highs edging toward 90 as next weekend approaches.

CLIMATE UPDATE

California regulators are warning of power shortages and possible blackouts this summer as the state’s electrical grid faces increasing strain from drought and extreme heat.

“We know reliability is going to be difficult,” Alice Reynolds, president of the state’s Public Utilities Commission, said during a recent media briefing reported by the Sacramento Bee newspaper. “We know climate change is putting Californians at risk of further outages.”

Increasingly intense wildfires, which scientists say are also made by worse by climate change, are another a threat to the grid because they damage power lines, according to The Weather Channel. Much of California is suffering from record-setting hot and dry weather.

The entire state — some 40 million people and 164,000 square miles — is in a drought emergency. Major reservoirs have reached record lows resulting in less hydropower for some regions, water use is being restricted, farmers are being paid not to grow crops and many fish are dying in dried-up stream beds.

Material from The Weather Channel was included in the Climate Update. The Outlook is today’s look ahead at the weather this weekend and next week, including its impact on the Berkshires and beyond.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com.

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