An intense heat wave reaches its peak, especially in the Midwest and Gulf Coast

An intense heat wave reaches its peak, especially in the Midwest and Gulf Coast

An ongoing brutal heat wave has reached its peak as more than 110 million Americans find themselves at risk of dangerous heat indicators on Wednesday. Record temperatures are scheduled to focus on the Midwest and Gulf Coast on Wednesday and Thursday, before returning mainly to the South and toward Texas by Friday and Saturday.

Extreme heat warnings are in effect for parts of 19 states, including Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Illinois. Areas under an excessive heat warning can expect heat index values ​​near 110 degrees and beyond, along with actual temperatures above 100.

Heat warnings are surrounded by heat warnings or heat watches on all sides. When combined, about 130 million people are under heat warnings.

The Weather Forecast Center wrote: “It is necessary to take the heat seriously and avoid spending a long time outdoors, as temperatures and their indicators will reach levels that would pose a health risk.” She noted that heat can be “deadly to anyone without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration.”

After another day filled with record highs and record warm lows on Tuesday, several hundred additional records are a good bet in the coming days.

The intense heat extends towards the east

Chicago is expected to court 100 people on Wednesday and Thursday. If the city can reach that number, it will be the first time since early July 2012. Chicago has its third-longest streak ever without reaching 100.

Among the high temperatures expected on Wednesday and Thursday are the following:

  • Shreveport, Louisiana: 107 and 107
  • Al-Jawwal, Alaa: 104 and 100
  • Beaumont, Texas: 102 and 106
  • New Orleans: 101 and 99
  • St. Louis: 101 and 103
  • Memphis: 99 and 101

In and around Louisiana, where the 100 never seems to end, next week will be tough. New Orleans is expected to approach or exceed record highs every day through Tuesday, including four days with a forecast of 100 or higher. Temperatures in Natchitoches, in the north-central part of the state, are expected to reach 110 degrees on Thursday.

The relentless heat keeps records toppling

High temperatures of 105 extended from northern South Dakota to central Texas on Tuesday, then east from there to Mississippi. Kansas, South Dakota and Nebraska saw temperatures reaching 108.

Record highs were recorded at the following locations, among many others:

  • Salina, Kansas, with a high score of 107
  • Lincoln, Nebraska, with a high score of 105
  • Baton Rouge, with a high of 103
  • Meridian, Miss., with a high of 102
  • Minneapolis, with a high score of 98

Adding in the heat index, “feel” values ​​between 120 and 125 were common throughout the Midwest, in places like Iowa and Missouri, where extensive farmland adds to the humidity in the air. This comes after Lawrence, Kansas, exceeded 130 cases on Sunday and Monday.

As temperatures reach record highs in parts of the south-central United States this summer, farmers face critical challenges about how to irrigate their crops. (Video: Rich Matthews/The Washington Post)

Most long-range stations in Texas and Louisiana, along the northern Gulf Coast and into Florida, are experiencing their hottest August on record, or near it, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center. As for the annual and summer statistics, it has a similar footprint, but focuses more on the Gulf Coast and Florida.

In addition to the record highs, record low temperatures fell by the hundreds, due in part to extreme humidity as well as extreme heat. Tuesday saw record warm lows from the Southeast into the Plains. Many cities live inland – Sioux Falls, SD; Omaha; Tulsa; And Memphis, among other cities — didn’t dip below 80 on Tuesday, and many probably won’t from Wednesday into Thursday.

Adding the stifling humidity, plus urban heat island effects, makes it unbearable all night long.

“We don’t have temperature indicators dropping significantly below 100 degrees until after about 10 p.m. or so,” the Chicago Weather Service wrote. Heat index values ​​will likely remain “in the upper 80s/near 90s throughout much of the night.”

Thursday’s low temperature could reach around 80 degrees in Chicago, which would be a record for the date. In Houston, record low temperatures are expected from Thursday through Tuesday at least. The lowest temperature expected is 80 degrees through the stretch, with a few nights perhaps only reaching the mid-80s.

The lack of real cooling at night greatly exacerbates health risks, especially for the poor and homeless.

Once we get into the weekend, the heat will likely be pushed south to focus on the Gulf Coast. By next Tuesday, only a few record highs will be at risk. History says we may see that number rise heading into Tuesday.

“The trend has been for high temperatures in the (expected) extended period to move into the medium to short term, and the numbers are adding up,” the New Orleans Weather Service wrote.

It looks like the most intense heat will shift west through the end of August. After that, it may shift to the east during the first week of September.

The average last 100 degree date for the year is August 17 in El Paso, August 26 in Dallas, and August 31 in Austin, so based on the date, the extreme heat days should end soon. Hot spots in the West, like Phoenix, see highs of more than 100 degrees during October most years.

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