The steamiest weather of the year is expected in much of the East for the Memorial Day weekend — just in time for the first real beach holiday.

But don’t sweat that. Northerly winds through the Lowcountry will ease the heat and humidity somewhat here.

Sweat this: Another storm system might roll up off the coast. It has a chance of becoming the second tropical cyclone formed in a season that hasn’t officially started yet.

Tropical Storm Alberto put the Lowcountry on edge last weekend before pushing out to sea.

“It could get interesting again next week. It’s something to watch,” said meteorologist Bob Bright with the National Weather Service, Charleston.

High temperatures over the weekend are expected to reach the mid-to-high 80s, Bright said, but “we’re not under the hottest air mass. Temperatures will be normal to above-normal, but not record.”

The warm weather will begin to boil over South Carolina on Friday in a mix of high pressure and humid air drawn from the Gulf of Mexico, said Mark Malsick, S.C. Climate Office severe weather liaison.

“An early but not unprecedented preview of our normal summer weather,” he said. The weather pattern is expected to fall apart on Tuesday.

High temperatures in the 90s with a heat index near 100 degrees are expected this weekend in such cities as Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., according to AccuWeather.com forecasters. The Midwest will be even hotter.

The 2012 hurricane season officially starts June 1.

Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on Twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.

Science and environment reporter. Author of Washing Our Hands in the Clouds.