Dangerous heat across eastern Europe will finally ease this week as thunderstorms return to parts of the region.
A ridge of high pressure has had a firm grip on eastern Europe, from around Poland and into the Balkan Peninsula, for more than a week and will not loosen its hold for yet another day.
Residents from Warsaw to Belgrade and Bucharest have felt temperatures soaring 7 to 11 degrees Celsius (15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal during past days. Highs of 23 C (73 F) in Warsaw, 28 C (83 F) in Belgrade and 30 C (86 F) in Bucharest are more common this time of year.
The average temperature in Warsaw was been nearly 7 degrees C (12 degrees F) above average so far this month. All but three days have seen the temperature sore above 30 C (86 F).
The dome of heat will finally be broken down early this week as a storm system is able to push farther east than recent systems, spreading showers and thunderstorms from central Europe to the Balkans. At the same time, an area of high pressure with cooler air will build southward providing cooling to Poland.
Temperatures early this week are expected to be held 6 to 12 degrees Celsius (10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit) below this weekend's highs. Highs near 25 C (middle 70s F) in Warsaw on Tuesday will be a welcome change from temperatures soaring to or past the 30-degree C mark (upper 80s to 90s F).
Wednesday marked the ninth consecutive day of Warsaw recording a high of 32.2 C (90 F) or higher, a stretch of intense heat the city has not dealt with since the 1994 heat wave that spanned late July to the start of August.
"Amid this current heat wave, Warsaw set a new all-time August high-temperature record last Saturday when the temperature peaked at 36.6 C (97.9 F)," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Eric Leister. The previous record was 36.4 C (97.5 F) from August 1994, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.
The impending heat relief will provide the first days of more seasonable high temperatures for eastern Europe since the start of August. Energy demand will be lessened as residents will finally be able to shut off fans and air conditioners.
The return of stormy weather, however, could mean that those with outdoor plans may still face disruptions early this week. Instead of worrying about suffering from heat exhaustion, residents will instead have to stay alert for lightning strikes from thunderstorms.
The area of high pressure plunging the cooler air southward will work to keep the wet weather out of the Baltics, as well as most of Poland and Ukraine.
An isolated number of the thunderstorms will be heavy enough to trigger flash flooding, especially in low-lying and poor-drainage areas. Locally gusty thunderstorms may erupt as the heat initially gets erased on Monday.
Heat relief is not the only advantage to the showers and thunderstorms. Much of eastern Europe is suffering from a rainfall shortage this year, which has become worse over the summer.
Since June 1, Warsaw has received less than half of the normal (172 mm) 6.75 inches of rain. A total of (47 mm) 1.86 inches of rain has fallen in Belgrade during the same time, which is less than 30 percent of normal. While Belgrade could see needed rainfall early this week, Warsaw will likely remain dry.
Once the storms and cooler air end the heat wave, temperatures will not be quick to soar again later next week.