Eight West Virginia cities, including Charleston, were among more than 100 in the eastern United States to set or tie record high temperatures last weekend, as a heat wave swept westward across the region, according to the National Weather Service’s Eastern Region Headquarters.
Daily heat records were set from Wheeling in the north to Bluefield in the south on Saturday, with Charleston, the hottest spot in the state, logging a toasty 80 degrees, nearly 40 degrees above the average high for a January day in the capital city. Charleston’s previous high temperature for Jan. 11 was 71, set in 2018.
Three West Virginia cities — Morgantown, Elkins and Beckley — shattered heat records for the day that had remained intact for more than a century.
Of the 72 eastern cities from Bangor, Maine, to Norfolk, Virginia, posting record highs on Saturday, Charleston’s 80-degree reading was the warmest.
On Sunday, as temperatures moved toward more seasonable levels in West Virginia, 32 eastern cities either set new heat records or tied existing ones. Among them was Boston, where the temperature peaked at 74 degrees, besting the previous high for the day by 13 degrees, according to the weather service.
On Saturday, Beckley’s high for the day of 69 degrees broke the previous record of 65 degrees set 104 years ago. Fifty miles to the south, Bluefield broke a record high for the day of 67 degrees that had stood for 83 years, with a reading of 68 degrees.
Elkins in Randolph County on Saturday broke by 6 degrees a 110-year high temperature mark for the day with a reading of 71 degrees, while in Morgantown, the high for the day was 74 degrees, breaking a record set in 1880 by 4 degrees.
In Huntington, it reached 78 degrees on Saturday, topping the previous record for Jan. 11 of 66 degrees set in 1963, while Parkersburg topped by 11 degrees the previous record high for the date of 67 set two years ago. Wheeling in the state’s Northern Panhandle topped out at 73 degrees on Saturday, beating by 9 degrees the previous high for the date set in 2018.
Temperatures are expected to remain above normal, but well below record-levels in the Charleston area Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service’s Charleston Forecast Office. Following likely morning rains, highs are expected to approach 65 degrees Tuesday. On Wednesday, a high of 64 is in the forecast, along with a chance of afternoon and evening showers.
Wintry weather is expected to return to the area by Saturday night, with rain showers turning to snow showers as the overnight temperature drops to its predicted low of about 29 degrees, according to the weather service. Sunday’s high in the Charleston area is expected to be 40 degrees — the average high temperature for the city on a January day.