It might be only April, but summer weather is already baking the desert Southwest and bringing triple-digit heat. Phoenix could hit 100 degrees this weekend as a record-breaking air mass brings dangerous heat and fire weather concerns to the region. The heat is in sharp contrast to the unusually cold weather dominating the eastern United States yesterday and today. The National Weather Service is warning of “critical fire weather conditions,” the exceptional early-season heat combining with single-digit humidity to transform the already-parched landscape into a tinder box.

Most of the Southwest is already in the midst of an “exceptional” drought, the highest tier on a six-step scale. Signs point to the drought continuing to worsen with time with an anomalously hot and dry summer expected.

A return to upper 80s — less harsh but still above average — is expected Tuesday and beyond.

In New Mexico, Albuquerque is expected to see highs in the mid-80s Monday. That should be more tepid than farther west, but would still break the daily record of 81 degrees set in 1972.

Las Vegas, meanwhile, is anticipating lower 90s over the weekend, with a return to breezy weather and 80s by the workweek. A record could be tied Saturday.

Even in California’s Bay Area, record heat brought temperatures well into the 80s. A number of spot fires are burning across the inland mountains. And while fires earlier in the season are typically more localized and subsequently less dangerous, they paint an ominous picture for what might lurk ahead.