Unlike most of Massachusetts, New York state and the rest of the Great Northeast, Berkshire County has been spared an official heat wave — three days of 90 or above — thanks to our altitude and extensive forestation.
Although humidity levels have been tolerable, at least over the weekend, that won’t be the case as the work and school week opens. Monday should be the peak of the hot spell with highs at or just above 90, especially at lower and middle elevations.
Saturday’s mid-afternoon high of 87 at Pittsfield Municipal Airport set a new record for the date (previously 85 in 1947) and Sunday’s high of 86 (as of 3 p.m.) fell short of the record, 90, set in 1968. The long-term average, or normal, temperature range for this week is 51 to 73.
Monday should be the week’s thermal high as temperatures ease a bit from Tuesday onward, along with increasing chances of showers and thunderstorms. High humidity arrives on Tuesday, so it’s likely to feel more uncomfortable even if daytime highs are several degrees lower than Sunday’s and Monday’s.
From mid-week onward, the likelihood of showers and thunderstorms grows each day, along with declining temperatures, though still above normal for the first half of June. Next weekend looks cloudy but probably dry, with comfortably seasonable temperatures.
The extended outlook for western New England indicates cooler than normal temperatures in mid-June, with generally dry conditions continuing.
A partial eclipse of the sun at sunrise on Thursday morning will reward earthlings with more than half of our shining star blocked out by the moon. Viewable locally if skies are clear enough. The usual precautions apply: No direct viewing of the sun, even at dawn.
Temperatures are expected to plummet across the West early this week as storms threaten to spark wildfires across a drought-stricken region. Rain and scattered showers have moistened the Northwest over the weekend, and snow even fell in the highest portions of the Cascades, creating hauntingly beautiful scenes on Mount Rainier. Most of California will not see much rainfall from this pattern change, intensifying the fire danger across the Southwest, especially around mid-week, with strong winds predicted.
Over half of the West — Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico — is currently in an extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Since May 1, Los Angeles hasn’t reported any rain at all. About 60 percent of Lake Oroville, the second-largest reservoir of California, has dried up. Arizona, southern Utah, southern California and southern Nevada are forecast to remain “bone dry” through the week, according to AccuWeather. But northern California, Oregon and Washington state can expect some rain by the weekend.
Heat relief is on the way for most of the West Coast, with temperatures 5 to 15 degrees below average in most areas by midweek.
But the heat remains on for the Rockies, as Denver is forecast to hit the low-90s again on Tuesday.
There are signs that an upper-level dome of high pressure will build across the Southwest, according to long-range forecasts, yielding above-average temperatures in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson.
The upper Midwest and northern Rockies and Plains will continue to endure near-record heat over the next five days.
Waterlogged areas of Texas and Louisiana should begin to dry out this week. Most of the region has seen 12 to 22 inches of rain over the past five weeks, compared to norms of 2 to 6 inches.
Most of Florida will enjoy typical late-spring highs in the mid-80s with sunshine except for potential thundershowers each afternoon.