Major Heat Wave to Spread From Plains to East Coast This Week

There's a massive heat dome sitting in the center of the country.

In response to this developing heat wave, the National Weather Service is preparing the affected population with advisories, watches, and warnings. Currently, there are 16 states that are under one or more of these different types of National Weather Service alerts. Heat Advisories, Excessive Heat Watches, and Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect for many cities through Friday evening from as far south as Texas and Louisiana to as far north as Minnesota and North Dakota. As this sizzling heat marches east towards the weekend, more advisories, watches, and warnings are expected to go up.

Looking at this event from a climatological aspect, we are currently in the hottest part of the year, therefore the weather is doing exactly what it should be! However, despite the heat being rather usual for this time of year, it is the intensity and the duration of the heat that is alarming. The Northern Plains and Midwest are expecting temperatures to be 10-20 degrees above normal with this incoming heat wave. That being said, triple digit temperatures and those within a degree or two of 100 will be the big picture here in the central part of the country on Thursday and Friday. The problem only worsens when overnight lows only dip into the middle 70s, not allowing the atmosphere to cool off. Much like the atmosphere’s way of cooling off, our body’s way of cooling off through evaporation is slowed during extreme heat. It is important to stay hydrated and avoid spending excess time outdoors.

The last time the Eastern part of the country had a very hot summer was in 2012. It was so unusually mild during the winter of 2011-2012 that the U.S. National Climatic Data Center called December, January and February the fourth-warmest winter for the lower 48 states since record-keeping began. Ultimately, because of the mild winter, spring and summer had an earlier start therefore allowing a faster warm up once the official start of summer began.

This summer already started off with record warmth for the contiguous United States. June, the first month of meteorological summer, was the warmest June on record (since 1895); it was also the warmest June for both Utah and Arizona. This is the second year in a row that June has broken this record. The average June temperature this year was 71.8 degrees, over 3 degrees higher than the 20th century average.

According to NOAA, June 2016 is also the warmest June on record for all land and ocean surfaces on the earth. This is the 14th consecutive month that the monthly global temperature record has been broken making it the longest streak since records began in 1880. The global temperatures for the first 6 months of the year was also the hottest on record.