FARGO — A long, cold spring in Fargo-Moorhead may have kept us inside longer than usual, but it’s finally safe to emerge from our lengthened hibernation. The weather warmed up during the last week of May, ushering in the start of summer with 90-plus degree temperatures.

Forecasts show the warm weather is here to stay — temperatures this week will peak around 85-90 degrees for the next few days before dropping back into the lower 80s and the 70s towards the weekend.

Ironically enough, WDAY-TV Chief Meteorologist John Wheeler said we actually have the extended spring cold to thank for these upcoming hot afternoons.

“Across the Red River Valley, most of the fields are still black because most of the crops have not emerged or just barely emerged,” he said. “And so looking down from aloft, you see a bunch of dirt instead of a bunch of wheat and beets and corn and other things.”

The black color of the exposed dirt absorbs sunlight more efficiently than any other color, heating the ground and resulting in hot afternoons even on days where the surrounding air mass is not particularly warm, Wheeler said.

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“We usually get this effect, but it’s more likely in April and early May,” he said.

This week’s weather will also see an improvement in air quality as residual smoke blown in from the Alberta wildfire in Canada continues to disperse high into the atmosphere, according to Carl Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“All the haze and smoke from the Alberta fire that we’ve seen recently has largely stayed aloft higher up in the atmosphere,” Jones said. “We’re getting more winds out of the west, so we won’t be seeing as much wildfire smoke at least in the near future. We’ll at least get a break and actually see some blue skies as opposed to grey and dull.”

In addition to the weekend’s cooler temperatures, Jones said we could also see some rainfall.

“Coming around Friday and Saturday we’ll start to see our rain chances go up,” he said. “That will develop out of the northern Rockies and kind of move slowly through southern Canada and we’ll see effects from that as it wraps around colder air and puts it over our area.”