With a high of 83 degrees at 1:53 p.m. — normal for a June 17 — Philadelphia broke a century-old high-temperature record Friday on warming winds that gusted past 55 mph and knocked out power to more than 10,000 Peco customers.
A gust of 57 mph was recorded in West Whiteland Township, Chester County, and the National Weather Service posted several reports of others of 50 mph or more, along with downed trees, limbs, and wires. They were far and away the strongest gusts since March 1, as winds have been slightly below average this month, which ordinarily is the year’s windiest.
But March isn’t quite over yet. Another round of potent winds is possible on Sunday, particularly to the south of Philadelphia as the region’s first spring thunderstorms are possible.
“There could be some heavy weather,” said Dean Iovino, a lead forecaster at the National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly, and showers could bring an additional inch of rain.
The government’s Storm Prediction Center, in Norman, Okla., has the region painted in the “marginal risk” zone for severe weather, as a well-juiced warm front pushes through on Sunday, with areas near Wilmington on south under a slightly higher risk.
A rather tepid “cold” front was due to pass through the region Friday evening, and temperatures on Saturday won’t challenge any records, topping off in the upper 60s.
The all-time high for a March 27 in Philadelphia is 83, set in 1921 — Easter Sunday that year — during a remarkable four-day run of weather.
In addition to the high of 80 that Saturday, a record that had withstood 99 years of challenges, it went to 82 on Monday. But it dropped all the way to 25 the next day, tying Jan. 6 and 7, 2014, for the most-dramatic day-to-day temperature swing in records dating to 1874.
That’s not happening in 2021, but the extended outlook does call for below-freezing temperatures Friday morning.