Records to topple in Southeast amid ‘dangerous’ heat near 105 degrees

Placeholder while article actions load

A stifling heat dome has been baking much of the southern US for about two weeks now, and it’s showing no signs of relaxing its grip on the Lower 48. An intense pulse of heat is setting records in the Southeast, with highs near 105 degrees in parts of Georgia and the Florida Panhandle and heat index values ​​topping 110.

The National Weather Service has hoisted heat advisories across swaths of the South, with 56 million Americans in zones that will peak in the triple digits.

‘Mixed blessing’: Fire-plagued New Mexico faces excessive monsoon rain

“The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible,” wrote the National Weather Service office in Tulsa.

The worst of the heat will impact the Southeast on Wednesday and Thursday, but there are signs a renewed pulse of exceptional heat will eye the Plains and Mississippi Valley into the weekend, prolonging the uncharacteristic toastiness.

In past days, numerous heat records have been set from North Dakota to Texas. Notably, Minneapolis hit 101 on Monday, its first time over 100 since 2018. On Tuesday, Milwaukee touched the century mark for the first time in nearly a decade.

The worst of the heat will be focused from the Ohio River and the Tennessee Valley into the Carolinas, Southeast, South and Texas. Just about everyone there will be in the upper 90s at least, and most have a decent shot of lurching into the lower 100s. A number of records could be set across the South; here’s a breakdown of how hot most cities could get, and if records are in jeopardy.

  • Atlanta: Tying of record likely. The high is forecast to hit 98 degrees. The record is 98, set in 1964.
  • Macon, Ga.: New record likely. The high is forecast to hit 102 degrees. The record is 101, set in 1925.
  • Albany, Ga.: New record likely. The high is forecast to hit 103 degrees. The record is 102, set in 2009.
  • Tallahassee: The high is forecast to hit 102 degrees. The record is 103, set in 2009. But it’s forecast to be the city’s first time hitting 100 in more than 1,000 days.
  • Mobile, Ala.: New record likely. The high is forecast to hit 101 degrees. The record is 100, set in 2009.
  • New Orleans: New record likely. The high is forecast to hit 97 degrees. The record is 96, set in 2009.
  • Montgomery, Ala.: The high is forecast to hit 100 degrees. The record is 101, set in 2006.
  • Birmingham, Ala.: The high is forecast to hit 99 degrees. The record is 101, set in 1930.
  • Huntsville, Ala.: The high is forecast to hit 99 degrees. The record is 105, set in 1933.
  • Nashville: The high is forecast to hit 99 degrees. The record is 100, set in 1988.
  • Lexington, Ky.: The high is forecast to hit 96 degrees. The record is 99, set in 1988.
  • Memphis: Tying of record likely. The high is forecast to hit 100 degrees. The record is 100, set in 1988.
  • Tupelo, Miss.: The high is forecast to hit 100 degrees. The record is 103, set in 1936.
  • Jackson, Miss.: The high is forecast to hit 99 degrees. The record is 101, set in 1969.
  • Little Rock: The high is forecast to hit 99 degrees. The record is 100, set in 1988.

In addition to the multiple records likely to be tied or broken, note the number of locations flirting within a degree or two of record highs.

In some places, the heat and humidity will combine to yield heat indexes exceeding 110 degrees. That will make for hazardous conditions that can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke for those exerting themselves outdoors.

Records continues Thursday

Temperatures are similar Thursday, though the worst of the heat gets suppressed just a little farther to the south.

Here are a few of the highest forecast temperatures, and where records are expected to be established:

Macon, Ga.: New record likely. The high is forecast to hit 103 degrees. The record is 101, set in 1988.

Albany, Ga.: Tying of record likely. The high is forecast to hit 104 degrees. The record is 104, set in 1944.

Tallahassee: New record likely. The high is forecast to hit 104 degrees. The (June 23) record is 103, set in 1944. The city could flirt with its all-time record of 105.

Heat domes are ridges of high pressure. They feature mostly clear skies, sinking air and copious sunshine. It also deflects the jet stream farther north into the Upper Midwest or southern Canada, deterring any inclement weather systems.

The stronger the heat dome, the hotter the air mass. The European weather model simulates that temperatures at the 850 millibar level, about a mile above the ground, are in the unprecedented category. Anything magenta in the plot connotes something outside the data set of historical observations.

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

By Saturday, the heat dome will shift west a bit, bringing readings of 100 to 104 degrees to most of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi away from the coastlines, western Alabama, western Tennessee and southeastern Missouri.

There are signs that the heat dome could ease or eventually break apart into early next week, but the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center continues to highlight odds of continued above-average temperatures for weeks to come.

Leave a Comment