Americans living on the eastern side of the country faced historically hot temperatures Wednesday as a heat wave lingered into the early days of fall.
The sweltering heat smothered Northeast and Southeast cities just over a week after world leaders met in New York for a U.N. Climate Action Summit to discuss the dangers of climate change.
On Wednesday, parts of New York City reached 95 degrees, marking the highest temperatures the city has ever recorded in October, according to the National Weather Service. In and around Washington, D.C., temperatures crept into the high 90s, with some Baltimore and D.C. residents experiencing 98-degree heat, also an all-time high for the month. In all, the National Weather Service said 20 eastern cities set or matched records for the highest temperature recorded in the entire month of October. They added that 50 cities in total broke high temperature records for Oct. 2.
These records came after dozens of states experienced record-breaking temperatures just one day prior, on Oct. 1.
The scorching heat was relentless and indiscriminate in its assault. Residents in Southern cities like Spartanburg, South Carolina, where suffocating humidity can feel as though it slows the city to a lurch, also saw unseasonably high temperatures. The 97-degree weather in Spartanburg on Wednesday marked the highest on record for the month of October since 1954.
Meteorologists attribute the heat wave to a number of ecological factors, including a high-pressure system that diverted a jet stream of cool air away from states in the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast, heating these areas to summer-like temperatures.
Even still, meteorologists expect the heat wave to loosen its grip on the Northeast and Southeast regions, and for fall temperatures to emerge as Americans close out the week.