Weather

Record-breaking temperatures climb to 100 degrees in Boston as Mayor Wu extends heat emergency

A cold front later this week could lower temperatures to the mid-80s and bring powerful thunderstorms.

Aoibheann Russell, a server at Ned Divine’s, opened up umbrellas as the restaurant prepared to open for a day of extreme heat. Jessica Rinaldi/Boston Globe

Midway through Sunday afternoon, as residents flocked to beaches and pools or to their local cooling center, the temperature in Boston officially reached 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). On top of that, humidity was expected to make Greater Boston feel as hot as 104 degrees Sunday, projected to be the last and most brutal day of a historic heat wave. 

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu extended the current heat emergency in the city through Monday. It was first declared last Tuesday, and was extended last Thursday before being extended once again Sunday. 

Twelve cooling centers are now set to remain open in the city at various community centers through 5 p.m. Monday. A full list of locations can be found on the city’s website. Select pools will be open as well as splash pads in multiple parks and playgrounds. 

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“With the hot temperatures and humidity now projected to last into Monday, we’ve made the decision to again extend the heat emergency to prioritize the safety of our residents,” Wu said in a statement. “As we lengthen the heat emergency for a second time, it is evident that a changing climate is a public health risk for our City. I’m thankful for the many City employees who have helped us get through the first part of this emergency, and urge residents to continue to take care of one another.”

When temperatures reached 100 degrees at 2:25 p.m. in Boston, the daily record high was once again surpassed. The record for July 24, 98 degrees, was first set in 1933. That record was broken at 1:25 p.m. Sunday, according to NWS. A heat advisory will remain in effect until 5 p.m. Monday.

Some moderate respite could be on the way soon, however. NWS meteorologists predict a high of only 91 degrees Monday, with a 60 percent chance of precipitation and ample amount of cloud coverage. Thunderstorms could occur after 1 p.m., bringing damaging straight-line winds. A tornado also “can’t be ruled out,” Monday, according to NWS. A tornado warning was issued for parts of Massachusetts Thursday afternoon. 

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The rest of the week should be a bit more bearable. Daily temperatures are expected to max out somewhere in the mid-80s, with some scattered showers mixed in. Humidity will also drop as a cold front sweeps into the region. For Boston, the average high temperature this time of year is 82 degrees. 

Daily Local Weather Forecast

  • Today October 01
    Rain
    Rain
    59° 54°
  • Sun October 02
    Rain
    Rain
    58° 48°
  • Mon October 03
    Mostly cloudy
    Mostly cloudy
    56° 49°
  • Tue October 04
    Cloudy
    Cloudy
    61° 49°
  • Wed October 05
    Mostly cloudy
    Mostly cloudy
    61° 51°
  • Thu October 06
    Mostly sunny
    Mostly sunny
    65° 49°
  • Fri October 07
    Mostly cloudy
    Mostly cloudy
    63° 47°

The current heat wave has been largely caused by three factors, The Boston Globe reported. A large mass of warm air has stayed over the area for the duration of the heat wave. It’s been kept in place by high pressure, while winds near the ground brought warm air north from the southwest. 

Boston officials are taking short and longer-term actions to deal with extreme heat. The city is planning to loan 30 cooling kits to community-based organizations that have public events this summer. These kits are mobile water misting tents designed to be easily set up for immediate heat relief. Each kit includes a hose, misters, and a tent to set up at public outdoor events.

The cooling kits program is just one part of a broader city strategy. In April, officials released Heat Resilience Solutions for Boston, a wide-ranging roadmap for dealing with extreme heat. 

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“Extreme heat is more than just an inconvenience or a discomfort — it negatively impacts our neighborhoods, our infrastructure, and our health. It means a loss of tree canopy, green space, and a degradation of air quality. It means more frequent power failures and transportation issues. It means more medical emergencies and heat related disease or illness,” Wu wrote in the report. 

The extreme heat in Massachusetts could combine with another long-term environmental risk for residents: air pollution. In a recent study from Boston College, researchers found that the effects of air pollution were responsible for an estimated 2,780 deaths throughout the state in 2019, when the most recent data was available. 

Harmful air pollutants can increase during a heat event. Researchers at the University of Southern California studied the intersection of air pollution and extreme heat in a recently released study

They found that, compared to days without extreme conditions, extreme heat days carried a 6.1 percent increase in risk of death. When extreme air pollution was present, deaths were 5 percent more likely to occur. On days with both extreme heat and air pollution, deaths were 21 percent more likely.

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