A scorching heat wave has descended upon the southern United States, bringing dangerous conditions and record-breaking temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit in numerous locations from Texas to Florida.
We wouldn’t have an active summer weather pattern without oppressive heat.
Fears are mounting as temperatures are expected to reach a scorching 115 degrees Fahrenheit in major Texas cities like Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Authorities have taken action by opening cooling centers and urging the public to stay hydrated and avoid prolonged sun exposure.
The National Weather Service has emphasized that the active summer weather pattern is directly linked to the oppressive heat, warning of the potential for strong electrical storms and dangerous tornadoes in the region.
Recently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott visited the town of Perryton, where a devastating EF-3 intensity tornado with winds of 140 mph claimed the lives of three individuals. Abbott expressed his surprise at witnessing the extensive destruction caused by the tornado, which remained on the ground for nearly 11 minutes.
W. Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, has issued a warning about the forecasted severe weather for the area on Saturday night, including heavy rain, high winds, and the possibility of additional tornadoes.
The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat advisories along the Gulf Coast from Brownsville, Texas, to Houston, lasting until Saturday night. Heat indices are expected to range from around 115 degrees Fahrenheit in Houston to nearly 120 degrees Fahrenheit in Brownsville and Corpus Christi, Texas.
Strong oppressive heat in Louisiana and Florida
The National Weather Service has projected daytime temperatures in Louisiana to reach around 94 degrees Fahrenheit, with high humidity making it feel as hot as 112 degrees Fahrenheit.
In response, the city of New Orleans has established cooling centers and hydration stations, advising residents to take extra precautions when spending time outdoors, such as wearing lightweight and loose-fitting clothing, taking frequent breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas, and staying well-hydrated.
Furthermore, power and water providers in New Orleans have suspended power shutoffs for delinquent accounts until Tuesday.
In Florida, the National Weather Service in Miami has issued a heat advisory until 7 p.m. Saturday for most of the South Florida area, where the combined heat and humidity are expected to reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
The service has emphasized that high temperatures and humidity can have adverse effects on health, urging caution and advising against leaving children and pets unattended in hot vehicles. In Clearwater, a waterspout that made landfall on Friday caused injuries to two elderly tourists from Kansas.
What is the cause of the strong heat wave?
“The cause of this heat wave is the abundance of moisture,” explained Allison Prater, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, Texas. “The high humidity is driving up the heat index, making it feel much hotter.”
Prater highlighted that while the air temperature in the Dallas area may reach 94 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, the high humidity will make it feel like 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
“The excessive heat is a result of the significant amount of moisture being drawn from the Gulf of Mexico,” Prater added. “When combined with higher temperatures, the heat index soars.”
With information from The Associated Press.
Almost 45 million people are under alert: heat wave and severe weather threaten different parts of the country