Semester kicks off with heat wave

The “fall” semester has officially begun at the Institute, but the weather has remained decidedly summer-like. Unusually hot weather has gripped the Boston area this week, as the last three days have been the top three warmest days of the year to date. In fact, Tuesday’s high temperature of 96°F (36°C) and Wednesday’s high of 93°F (34°C) were each all-time records for their respective days.

Drastic relief from the warm weather will arrive today, however, as an approaching cold front will bring a much cooler air mass, as well as showers and thunderstorms to the area. A pair of successive low pressure systems will develop to our south and move offshore, extending the possibility of rain into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

By certain metrics, summer should have ended by now. In popular American culture, the traditional end of summer is marked by Labor Day, which was observed this past Monday. Moreover, in the mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere, the meteorological summer is defined as the months of June, July, and August, with Sept. 1 marking the start of meteorological autumn. Although September heat waves are relatively rare in Boston, this isn’t the hottest it’s ever been: a temperature of 102°F (39°C) was recorded on September 7, 1881.