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Dangerous Heat Is Expected to Return Across the South

A man in white pants and a white shirt walking under misting sprays in Phoenix.
Though high temperatures are expected to abate in some parts of the United States, excessive heat and humidity will return to the Southern Plains and Deep South.Credit...Matt York/Associated Press

The brutal summer heat that has blanketed the South, from the Southwest into Texas and down to South Florida, will expand to other parts of the country, first into the central United States and then farther east, driving temperatures above normal across the eastern two-thirds of the country.

On Tuesday, the heat will move into the central United States with temperatures 10 to 20 degrees above normal. In addition, heat index readings, which consider both temperature and humidity, will reach into the 100s. Dangerous heat indexes are forecast for Wichita, Kan., and Lincoln, Neb. By Thursday and Friday, temperatures and humidity levels will rise in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, causing sweatier-than-normal conditions.

For weeks, the culprit has been a “heat dome” of high pressure parked over the Southwest. As it shifts east, temperatures in the region may ease by the weekend, but not before setting more records. Forecasters warn that Phoenix is likely to extend a streak of hitting at least 110 degrees, currently at 24 days. Tucson, Ariz., is on pace to break its record of 39 days of triple-digit high temperatures in a row Tuesday. That streak could last up to 45 days.

Forecasters in Philadelphia suggested on Monday morning that the city’s first excessive-heat headlines of the year were likely to occur Friday. Look up the heat index in your city or town to see how it compares.

Yes, but probably not soon. Record streaks in the desert Southwest may to come to an end this weekend or early next week, with forecast models hinting that temperatures may return to normal summertime readings.

But in the Central Plains and across the Southeast, forecasters see a moderately high likelihood of above-average temperatures next week.

The heat index in Miami, which is likely to climb above 100 degrees this week and was expected to hit 106 to 110 across Miami-Dade County on Monday, prompted forecasters to issue an excessive-heat warning.

This is the fourth such warning ever issued for the county, all of which have occurred this summer, partly because the Miami National Weather Service office lowered the criteria for these warnings. Excessive heat warnings for the county were formerly issued if the heat index reached 113 degrees for at least two consecutive hours. Now, the warnings are issued at 110 degrees.

In the neighboring counties of Collier and Broward, the threshold hasn’t been changed, but those counties reached their warning point of heat indexes of at least 113 degrees for at least two hours for the first time this month, and it happened twice.

Posted on 24 Jul 2023 22:36 link