Thursday was the Rock Hill area’s hottest day this year. What’s next?

National Weather Service meteorologist Jeffrey Taylor has the words most, if not all, Rock Hill-area residents want to hear.

“Relief from the excessive heat will arrive over the weekend,” Taylor says.

Thursday was the hottest day of the year -- the thermometer reached 97 degrees -- at the Rock Hill airport. Now, a cooling trend is on the way.

It begins Friday afternoon and evening, forecasters say.

Showers and thunderstorms will form along a cold front pushing southward across the Carolinas. And it will continue Saturday and Sunday, as a wedge of cooler air becomes locked over the Piedmont.

The bad news is the “cooler” air will still be at or above seasonal average highs for the Rock Hill area.

Temperatures are forecast to reach 90 degrees Friday afternoon, before thunderstorms arrive.

Those storms will be scattered but could cause problems for high school football across the region.

On Saturday, Taylor says high pressure over the Northeast will send a flow of cooler air off the Atlantic and into the Piedmont. A few showers could develop, but forecasters expect highs Saturday afternoon to top peak at 84 or 85 degrees.

The pocket of cool air will erode a bit Sunday, Taylor said, allowing highs to climb back into the upper 80s. That will continue into next week, with another cooling trend forecast around the middle of the week.

But meteorologists don’t see a return to a steady dose of 90s anytime soon.

They also don’t think the rain-starved Rock Hill area will get much, if any, precipitation from the tropical system forming near the Bahamas. Meteorologists say computer models predict the pattern over the eastern United States will sweep the tropical system out to sea, once it moves as far north as Georgia.

2019’s hottest day

The temperature of 97 degrees, recorded around 4 p.m. Thursday at the airport in Rock Hill, was the highest of 2019. Previously, Rock Hill had reached 96 degrees on six dates -- May 28 and 30; July 2, 3 and 4; and Aug. 13.

Thursday’s high in Charlotte was 98 degrees, equaling the hottest temperature of 2019 there. That reading broke a record for the date, of 95 degrees, set in 1926.

Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle