Zooming around with Zoe: Record-breaking heat in Northern US

Zooming Around With Zoe

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Eastern North Carolina is all too familiar with heat and humidity. But, did you know the northern portion of the United States was actually hotter than we were last week?

Let’s zoom to the Great Plains.

Historic levels of heat broke records from Oregon to New York, with the strongest centered around North Dakota. Bismarck soared to 106 degrees on June 4, smashing the previous record of 95.

It’s the earliest in the year the city has ever hit that temperature and the first time since 2007. The last time the capital hit triple digits this early was in 1934.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had its hottest day in almost nine years on June 5, topping out at 101 degrees. Milwaukee, Wisconsin tied or set record high temperatures three days in a row.

But how is this heat surging so far north? The polar jet stream is a key factor. It’s known to ‘follow the sun’ as the sun’s elevation increases each day in the spring, aka days getting longer, the average latitude of the jet stream moves north. By summer, it’s normally found near the US-Canada border.

This year, the stream moved poleward and weakened a bit earlier than usual. In early June, a ridge in the jet stream stagnated and let the heat from the Southern US to shoot north, which is why numerous records were broken.

While the Northern US stayed hot and dry, the south was soaked by rain, not allowing temperatures to rise as much.

Luckily, we haven’t seen triple-digit temperatures quite yet this year. But, as the dog days of summer inch closer, we all should be ready to beat the heat.

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