First Heat Wave of 2017 for NYC

It’s official! We are having a heat wave in New York City.

The threshold for what constitutes a heat wave varies by region, but here in the northeast, it is defined as three consecutive days with temperatures reaching 90°F or higher. In Central Park, the temperature reached 90°F on Wednesday, 92°F on Thursday – setting a new record for the date – and then 91°F on Friday.

While heat waves are more common during the summer months, they have developed in the spring before. The last time one happened in May was May 2-4, 2001. The city’s earliest heat wave on record was April 16-18, 2002. This week’s event ranks as the sixth earliest, according to the NWS.

The main driver of this unseasonable heat is a stubborn Bermuda High, which is a large area of high pressure off the east coast. Spinning clockwise, it is ushering warm and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico into the region

The city’s normal high for this time of year is 72°F.

Credit: NOAA/NWS

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About Melissa Fleming

Melissa Fleming is an environmental communicator and visual artist working at the intersection of art and science. She is passionate about exploring, learning, and sharing information about the natural world. She has presented her interdisciplinary work in a variety of mediums at venues and conferences around the world.