NFL football is nearing midseason, pumpkin spice latte orders are surging, and kids all over the country are putting the finishing touches on their Halloween costumes. But, to many, it sure does not feel like Fall yet.
Much of the U.S. has experienced some very unseasonably warm temperatures this week, causing many to wonder when Autumn weather will actually arrive. Temperatures have been 15 to 20 degrees above normal up and down the East coast since Monday and on Tuesday New York City's 83-degree day broke a record for the October date set back in 1928. Similar records have been shattered elsewhere in the U.S. as a result of a high-pressure formation that is moving over the region and bringing the heat.
An area of high pressure over the Western Atlantic Ocean near the Bahamas is pumping warm air up over the U.S. from the South. This phenomenon is typical in the summer, but unlike in the summer, drier air from the northwest is currently pushing south and combining with the high-pressure system. Drier air heats up quicker than humid air, meaning the air in the middle levels of the atmosphere is even warmer. That especially hot air is what is currently sweeping over the East coast.
But these temperatures won't last much longer. A cold front is expected to arrive late Thursday to break up the high-pressure formation and push out the warm air. Once the front passes, temperatures should drop by about 15-20 degrees across the board. This means highs will return to the 70s down in the South and drop into the 60s in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
While the impending cool weather may be encouraging, it is hard to separate climate change from the alarming spike in temperatures. Rising global temperatures make high-pressure systems, like the one causing the current heat wave, more common and erratic. As of September, there have been 16 straight months of record-high temperatures throughout the world, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).