Boston breaks heat record as mercury soars to 96

Boston, MA - 6/21/2012 - Dana Rivers, cq, of Hudson tried to beat the heat while landscaping the Berkeley Community Garden in Boston's South End on Thursday, June 21, 2012. Rivers works for Emanouil Brothers, Inc., a landscaping and construction company based in Chelmsford. He was working with a crew to lay irrigation, spread mulch and plant trees, shrubs and groundcover. topic: Hot weather feature - Dina Rudick/Globe Staff
Whatever it takes — Dana Rivers of Hudson tried to beat the heat while landscaping the Berkeley Community Garden in Boston's South End today.
Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

It’s official.

BOSTON ,MA 06/ 21/ 2012 : HOT STREETS, construction worker Philip Joe (cq) takes a drink while standing in a hole/ditch full of water on Tremont Street in Boston. Philip says it felt the same heat for both days.... ( David L Ryan / Globe Staff Photo ) SECTION: METRO TOPIC stand alone photo
Construction worker Philip Joe hydrated on Tremont Street in Boston. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
The Boston Globe

With the mercury climbing to 96 shortly at 3:10 p.m. today, Boston set a record for the highest temperature for the day.

The previous record for June 21, last set in 1949, was 95 degrees, said the National Weather Service, which has been keeping records in Boston since 1872.

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The reading had inched up from 95 shortly before 2 p.m.

Wednesday was actually hotter, clocking in at 97 degrees, but the previous record for June 19 was 98.

In many areas of the state today, temperatures are likely to hit 100 degrees, said weather service meteorologist Alan Dunham, but it could feel like 105 during the hottest hours of the day because of high humidity levels.

It will be slightly cooler in the higher terrain areas like Worcester; those areas will reach the low to middle 90s.

Even the Cape and the islands are expected to get a blast from the heat. Areas right along the coast may get a break from a sea breeze, but that cooling effect will only last one to two miles from the shore, the forecasters said.

The weather service has issued a heat advisory for all of the state except for the eastern slopes of the Berkshires and the Cape and the islands.

The extreme heat is caused by a high pressure system that is currently stationed over the mid-Atlantic coast, just to the south of New England, Dunham said.

“We’ve had this heat that’s been bottled up over the center of the country,” he said. “All that pressure has streamed over into the Northeast.”

After another hot and muggy night, a cold front will pull the temperature down a few degrees, to the low and mid-90s in the interior Friday. Saturday the mercury will dip to the 80s as the front continues to slowly move through the region.

As that system moves through the area, there is a chance of cooling thunderstorms and scattered showers, but the humidity won’t drop to normal levels until Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

Dunham said Sunday will be the best day of the weekend, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s.