Record-breaking heat wave is expanding east, more than 100 million under alerts

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A massive heat wave that has set dozens of temperature records is amplifying from Texas to California in the eastern United States. More than 100 million Americans from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes are subject to heat alerts during midweek as temperatures soar toward the triple digits.

Turbulent humidity levels will make the atmosphere 5 to 15 degrees hotter, resulting in heat index values ​​of 100 to 115 degrees over a large swath of the lower central and eastern 48.

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Heat warnings or watches and warnings of excessive heat cover all of Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and parts of more than a dozen other states.

The National Weather Service predicts temperatures could defy records in more than 100 cities through Wednesday, from Denver to Charleston, South Carolina.

The temperature is expected to be hotter and longer in the center of the country.

Relentless heat expected in St. Louis, where mercury is expected to reach at least 100 on each of these days — with heat index values ​​as high as 113. It’s under an overheat warning for “extremely hot conditions,” according to the weather service.

Strong air increases the risk of simultaneous severe thunderstorms along the Northern Ocean heat wave. The Weather Service is closely monitoring the possibility of developing a violent array of storms that could sweep from the upper Midwest into the Ohio Valley and the mid-Atlantic on Monday afternoon through early Tuesday.

Forecasts for the coming week point to the continuation of the severe heat wave over the central states. Heat waves like these are a regular staple of summer, but their effects are becoming more severe and long-lasting due to human-caused climate change.

Where is the heat now, where is it headed and how long can it last

The excess heat is the result of an intense, sprawling area of ​​high pressure, sometimes referred to as a thermal dome.

The dome, centered over the southwest on Saturday, turned east. On Monday, it hovered over the lower Mississippi Valley, putting much of the eastern half of the country, apart from the Northeast, in the crossfire. By Wednesday, you’ll be headed toward Nashville before turning west again.

The science of heat domes and how drought and climate change make them worse

On Monday, readings are expected to be above 100 degrees for most of Texas, with the upper 90s from the Corn Belt all the way east to the Carolinas. Record highs near 100 are expected in Denver, Dallas, Omaha, Memphis and Charlotte, among many other locations.

Temperatures in the high 90s to near 100 could reach as far north as Minneapolis on Tuesday, with 98 degrees in Atlanta, 97 in Chicago and 101 in Raleigh, North Carolina and Columbia, SC, could reach 102 degrees.

The mix of heat and humidity in Charlotte on Tuesday and Wednesday – producing heat index values ​​near 110 – It may be the most intense there since 2010.

On Wednesday, temperatures in the high 90s will be ubiquitous from the Central Plains and Texas through the eastern Great Lakes, the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Appalachians, as well as the Southeast. Records could threaten the area from nearly Flint, Michigan, through Columbus, Ohio, and Knoxville, Tennessee, to Atlanta.

The heat isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It may turn slightly westward and consolidate over the central states late this week into the weekend. The Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center expects temperatures to remain above normal in the central states over the next two weeks.

Along the northern periphery of the Thermal Dome, where intense heat meets cold air, the resulting variation in temperatures is expected to trigger severe thunderstorms. Storms were already evident Monday afternoon in the upper Midwest and Great Lakes.

Concern was growing that an arc echo, or a curved storm line capable of producing devastating straight line winds, would organize and spread south and east on Monday afternoon and night across the upper Midwest and Ohio Valley. The Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center has placed the region from Wisconsin to northwest Virginia at the greatest risk from a potential thunderstorm complex or medium-sized convective system (MCS).

“It appears possible that the MCS’ long-distance bend could result in a wide range of wind damage along this corridor,” the Storm Prediction Center, which also warned of the potential for large hail and a few tornadoes, wrote. Cities in the high-risk corridor include Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Indianapolis, Columbus, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

There is an outward chance that the MCS will meet the criteria for a derecho, which is a complex of fast-moving, large-scale, long-lived, and violent thunderstorms.

Derecho season: Why you should be aware of these potentially devastating storms

It’s unclear whether the storm complex will survive its trek over the Appalachian Mountains Monday night, and what the implications will be for Washington and Baltimore, but it’s worth seeing the area from late night into early Tuesday morning.

Then, another such complex could develop over the upper Midwest or the Great Lakes and shift to the inland northeast as late as Wednesday through Thursday.

As the heat spreads across the region from Texas to California’s Central Valley late last week and into the weekend, it’s setting a slew of records.

Phoenix set three consecutive daily records for high temperatures — 113 degrees on Friday, 114 degrees on Saturday and 112 degrees on Sunday. The average high there at this time of year is around 105 degrees.

On Friday, the morning low in Phoenix did not dip below 87 degrees, which means that when taken into account with a high of 113 degrees, the average day temperature was 100 degrees. This is the first three-digit average daily temperature recorded in Phoenix.

Las Vegas scored 109 on Friday and Saturday, making or breaking records, and Salt Lake City at 102 on Saturday and 103 on Sunday. Those also broke records.

Denver climbed to 100 on Saturday, the closest to a record touching the century mark.

In Texas, hot days and stormy nights set dozens of records. Dallas saw a morning low of 80 degrees on Sunday, a record low of minimum temperatures. Higher overnight temperatures often play a greater role than daytime altitudes in amplifying heat stress on the body and contributing to heat-related disease and mortality in vulnerable populations. Dallas then hit a record high of 103 degrees on Sunday afternoon.

Abilene, Texas, saw three daily records in a row — 102 degrees on Friday, 108 degrees on Saturday, and 109 degrees by Sunday. San Antonio also hit or break records on those days, at 101, 104 and 105 degrees respectively, as did Austin, at 101 on Thursday, 103 on Friday, 104 on Saturday and 105 by Sunday.

In Houston and Galveston, Texas, heat was intertwined with excessive humidity, contributing to heat indices in the 105 to 110 degree range.

However, it could be worse – southeast Oklahoma saw heat index values ​​in an incredible 120-degree range on Saturday. It was due to air temperatures around 105 along with dew points, a measure of humidity, in the upper seventies to nearly 80.

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