Metro Detroit falls back into summer with record highs

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

Temperatures during Metro Detroit’s early autumn heat wave set records this weekend, with highs more fitting for mid-July than late September.

Saturday’s high of 90 surpassed the record of 89 degrees set in 1937, according to the National Weather Service, while the temperature reached 89 Sunday, tying the record from Sept. 24, 1891.

The heat led the Detroit Public Schools Community District to announce that students would be dismissed after a half-day of classes Monday, when the temperatures are forecast to reach the high 80s again.

Jordan Dale, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the heat wave is being caused by a rare weather occurrence where high pressure and southerly winds allow warm air to move north.

Temperatures normally top out in the lower 70s in southeast Michigan during this time of year, Dale said.

Friday marked the start of fall.

“This is a very rare event to have record highs, especially for this many days in a row,” Dale said.

The last time Metro Detroit saw 90-degree temperatures in early fall was 1998, according to the weather service.

Forecasters say the hot weather this past week has been a stark contrast to the summer, when temperatures only reached 90 on four days between June and August.

Families relaxing at Campus Martius on Sunday evening said they were enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.

Sheila Jackson-Carter was sitting at a table with her shoes off as she watched children playing in the sand area.

“It’s never too hot,” Jackson-Carter said. “I’m very happy. And there are so many things you can do in the city.”

Zinab Ghaddar and Fay Moussa, two sisters from Dearborn, said they spent some time on the Detroit river walk Sunday and then walked to Campus Martius, where they were discussing nearby options for dinner.

“Winter is right around the corner,” Ghaddar said. “So before you know it, we will have snow.”

Moussa said she was enjoying the hot spell “tremendously.”

It was a good chance for people to venture downtown and experience Detroit’s revival, she said. “Detroit has come back.”

Flint and Saginaw broke records for high temperatures Thursday through Sunday, Dale said. Detroit was a few degrees cooler on Thursday and Friday only because of a breeze from Lake Erie, he added.

The heat is expected to last until Wednesday and then Metro Detroit will see more fall-like temperatures, Dale said.