CHICAGO (NewsNation) — A sizzling heat wave will blanket a wide swath of the Northeast this weekend, pushing temperatures in New York and Boston to near-record highs, while Denver is bracing for a foot or more of snow, the National Weather Service reported.
More than 30 million people from Washington, D.C., to Massachusetts are under a heat advisory across the Northeast as forecasters say temperatures could reach the mid- to upper 90s.
Normally at this time of year, the region enjoys cool springtime weather in the upper 60s to mid-70s, said Marc Chenard, a forecaster with the NWS Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
In the country’s western half, a separate weather system is pushing cold air south into Colorado. Between 12 and 18 inches of snow, which started Friday night, is expected to stop around noon Saturday, Chenard said, with temperatures plummeting from 88 degrees F on Thursday to the low 40s on Friday.
“In Denver, it’s a pretty big swing from summer back to wintry weather, but it’s not unprecedented,” he said. “So, no records are being broken. It’s just unusual.”
Late-season snowfalls in the Mile High City are rare but not unheard of. An inch of the white stuff fell on May 29, 1975, and a half-inch dusted Denver on June 6, 1953.
The threat of heavy snow led the Colorado Rockies to postpone their Friday game against the New York Mets at Denver’s Coors Field.
New York City, where 73 degrees is average for mid-May, could hit 93 degrees on Saturday, while temperatures in Washington could reach 96 degrees or higher, Chenard said. Temperatures should drop to normal on Monday.
Forecasters said the early-season heat wave will result from a high-pressure dome of air in the upper atmosphere that is deflecting the typical flow of cool air from Canada, pushing it westward. That allows hot air from the southern and central states to move into the Northeast, he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.