No need to wait for the official start of summer on Thursday to get into the heat. Forecasters expect the mercury to slip back into the 90s today at BWI after falling just short of the mark yesterday. Tuesday will likely be even hotter as this high-pressure system moves east and puts us in the return flow from the south.
The forecast calls for a high of 90 degrees at BWI today, and 93 degrees tomorrow. Neither mark would threaten the records for the dates. And humidities are not expected to be as high as they might be along the Tidewater. But we'll feel it, anyway. Two more days in the 90s would bring us to 7 for the season so far.
As I write this at 11 a.m., it's already 87 degrees at Calvert & Centre streets.
The average high temperature for Baltimore at this time of year is 83 degrees. We reached 89 degrees Sunday at BWI. The record high for a June 17 here is 96 degrees, in 1939. Today's high is expected to reach 90 degrees - hot, but also well short of the record (97 degrees, set in 1957). It was 95 degrees yesterday at the Science Center.
Tuesday's forecast calls for a high at BWI of 93 degrees, also well short of the record for the date - 99 degrees, set in 1994. Humidities will not be intolerable. Dew points will hold in the 60s. (Over 70 they begin to feel real sticky.)
As the high moves east, a cold front will follow, boosting our chances for showers and thunderstorms, especially late Tuesday. But those chances don't look real strong for the Baltimore area. And once the front pushes through, we'll return to more comfortable temperatures for the balance of the week - in the 80s - and lower humidities.
Increasing chances for showers mean increasing clouds and humidities, which may wreck some promising stargazing this week. We were out on the street last night with our little Meade ETX telescope, gazing at the lovely crescent moon, a crescent Venus, Saturn with its rings and Jupiter with four of its moons.
Although it was hazy, with some lingering light of dusk, the seeing was remarkably good, and we managed to attract a few neighbors to share the view.
The low light angles on the thin crescent moon put the craters, mountains and plains on the moon's west limb in sharp relief until they all dropped below the tree line. It was the first time I'd seen Venus as a clear crescent - actually more of a half-Venus (like a half-moon, and for the same reason) - as it followed the moon down the western sky toward the spot where the sun had set earlier.
Saturn and its rings looked sharp despite the haze, and it wowed the neighbors as it always does.
Moving the telescope to the opposite side of the street, we could see that Jupiter was rising higher over the rooftops to the southeast. So we adjusted the tripod, swiveled the 'scope over to the opposite side of the solar system and got the giant planet in the crosshairs.
It was huge, just a few weeks past opposition. I could make out (I think) two cloud stripes, and saw all four Galilean moons splayed out across the field - two on each side of the planet. I had checked on Jupiter late last week using the 10x50 binoculars and reassured myself that you really CAN see Jupiter's largest moons with binocs, if the night is clear and you can steady the glasses on something solid. Try it when the clouds part. You'll like it.