Late-week cooldown to slash record heat across southern US

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By Renee Duff for AccuWeather.com

The record heat that baked the southern United States since last week will be slashed by a push of cooler air on Friday.

The cooldown will make it as far south as Florida during the first half of the weekend.

"A cold front dropping quickly through the country will push across the Southeast from Thursday to Friday," AccuWeather Meteorologist Faith Eherts said.

Temperatures will return to seasonable levels in the front's wake.

Highs will drop 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit in most locations from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Southeast coast.

A northeast breeze will pick up behind the front, ushering in the much cooler air, Eherts said.

Highs in the 80s F will be replaced with highs in the upper 60s to middle 70s from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Nashville, Atlanta and Montgomery, Alabama, by Saturday.

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Greece's Tower of Winds, the world's first weather station
The upper part of theTower of Winds, open to the public for the first time in more than 200 years after being restored, in the Roman Agora, in Plaka, central Athens, Greece, August 23, 2016. Picture taken August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
Tourists visit the Tower of the Winds, open to the public for the first time in more than 200 years after being restored, in the Roman Agora, in Plaka, central Athens, Greece, August 23, 2016. Picture taken August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
Tourists visit the Tower of the Winds, open to the public for the first time in more than 200 years after being restored, in the Roman Agora, in Plaka, central Athens, Greece, August 23, 2016. Picture taken August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
A guard is seen inside the Tower of the Winds, open to the public for the first time in more than 200 years after being restored, in the Roman Agora, in Plaka, central Athens, Greece, August 23, 2016. Picture taken August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
Tourists visit the Tower of the Winds, open to the public for the first time in more than 200 years after being restored, in the Roman Agora, in Plaka, central Athens, Greece, August 23, 2016. Picture taken August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
A view of the sculptures depicting winds on the 1st century BC Tower of the Winds or the Horologion of Andronikos, at the steps of the Acropolis , inside the archaeological site of the Roman Agora in Athens on August 23, 2016. The octagonal Roman-era hydraulic clock commonly known as the Tower of the Winds -- a reference to the sculptures carved on its façade -- the monument was used for Christian ceremonies under the Byzantines and as a dervish lodge during the Ottoman period. It opened to the public for the first time after extensive restoration works. / AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A view of the 1st century BC Tower of the Winds or the Horologion of Andronikos, inside the archaeological site of the Roman Agora in Athens on August 23, 2016. The octagonal Roman-era hydraulic clock commonly known as the Tower of the Winds -- a reference to the sculptures carved on its façade -- the monument was used for Christian ceremonies under the Byzantines and as a dervish lodge during the Ottoman period. It opened to the public for the first time after extensive restoration works. / AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A person takes a picture of the the 1st century BC Tower of the Winds or the Horologion of Andronikos, inside the archaeological site of the Roman Agora in Athens on August 23, 2016. The octagonal Roman-era hydraulic clock commonly known as the Tower of the Winds -- a reference to the sculptures carved on its façade -- the monument was used for Christian ceremonies under the Byzantines and as a dervish lodge during the Ottoman period. It opened to the public for the first time after extensive restoration works. / AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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The air mass will not be quite as cool by the time it reaches Florida, but temperatures will fall noticeably on Saturday.

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Highs in the middle 80s will be replaced with highs in the lower to middle 70s from Jacksonville to Orlando.

The cool shot is expected to be accompanied by little to no rainfall, which is bad news for drought-stricken portions of the Southeast.

"Unfortunately, little precipitation is expected with this front outside of the Carolinas and Tennessee River Valley," Eherts said.

Spotty showers and thunderstorms could reach as far west as the lower Mississippi Valley.

"Calm and sunny weather will help temperatures rise back up early next week, though record-breaking heat is not expected," Eherts said.

The heat that has scorched the southern U.S. over the past week left its mark on the record books.

Highs ranged 10 to 25 degrees above average across the region during the timeframe.

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Louisville, Kentucky; Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama; and Nashville all set records for the warmest day ever recorded in November on Monday, as highs climbed into the middle to upper 80s.

Dozens of record highs have been set across the South over the past week. Montgomery, Alabama, set record highs for five consecutive days from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1.

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