Although the summer solstice isn’t until Wednesday, blistering, dangerous summer-like heat has already been the main weather story across the south-central U.S. over the past few days. And there is little relief in sight for sun-scorched states such as Texas and Louisiana, forecasters said.
“It’s going to be really bad,” said Bob Fogarty, a National Weather Service meteorologist in the Austin/San Antonio office. “It’s going to be oppressive.”
The temperature in San Angelo, Texas, soared to an all-time high of 114 degrees on Tuesday, according to the weather service.
Meanwhile, Texas’ power grid operator asked residents Tuesday to voluntarily cut back on electricity due to anticipated record demand on the system.
AccuWeather meteorologists expect that the heat dome that has caused temperatures to skyrocket throughout June will continue to jeopardize heat records for at least the next several days.
Excessive heat warnings in effect
High temperatures were forecast to soar into the 100s and 110s across southern Texas, the weather service said. And there will be little respite in the evenings as lows only drop into the 70s and 80s.
Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories are in effect for much of Texas and Louisiana as a result, according to the weather service. An excessive heat warning means that “dangerously hot conditions with heat index values of 110 – 120 degrees are expected, the weather service said.
“Extreme heat and humidity will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities,” the weather service warned.
‘Unbearable,’ ‘horrible’ heat
Tens of thousands of people across the south-central U.S. remained without power Tuesday as a result of big storms late last week and over the weekend, adding to the heat misery.
“It’s been unbearable,” Leigh Johnson, a resident of Mount Vernon, Texas, told Dallas television station KXAS Monday. She had not had power for about three days.
“It’s been horrible because it’s like, the heat index has been so bad that literally, we’re having to sit in the cold baths to cool ourselves down. Our animals as well, we’re having to stick them in the bathtub just to keep them from having a heat stroke, it’s been that bad,” she said.
Why is it so hot?
A strong high-pressure system and unusual humidity are to blame for the uncomfortable weather, Fogarty said. The high-pressure, stagnant air tends to make the area above it hotter.
“It just lets us get hotter and hotter,” he said. “The sun just kind of bakes it each day.”
How to stay safe in extreme heat
People should approach the heat with care, Fogarty said.
“Try to avoid the hottest hours of the day, if you can,” he said. “If you have to be outside, the recommendations are wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Try to take breaks in the shade. Try to stay hydrated.”
AccuWeather recommends that people:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Stay in an air-conditioned room, out of the sun
- Check up on relatives and neighbors
- Do not leave young children or pets unattended in vehicles in any circumstance
- When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening if you work or spend time outside
Contributing: The Austin-American Statesman; The Associated Press