Triple-digit heat to expand across south-central US, challenge records by late week


MAY 28, 2018

Backlit by a blistering sun and a temperature of 108 degrees, a young man reaches for a cool spray of water coming from an interactive fountain at Osage Park in Wichita, Kansas on July 18, 2006. – James P Reed/Corbis via Getty Images

Heat across the south-central United States is expected to worsen later this week, endangering residents and putting many record highs in jeopardy.

High temperatures are expected to steadily climb across the South Central states this week.

While it will be hot as residents return back to work or school after the Memorial Day holiday weekend on Tuesday, highs in the upper 90s and 100s can bake many communities from the lower elevations of New Mexico to Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Similar highs may also spill over into Louisiana, Arkansas and northward to near the border of Nebraska and Iowa.

Western Texas and southeastern New Mexico may endure the worst of the heat as temperatures climb from the lower 100s early this week to near 110 F to start June.

Highs anticipated for later this week can range from 10 to 20 degrees above normal throughout the South Central states.

Dodge City and Wichita, Kansas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Little Rock, Arkansas; Dallas, Lubbock and El Paso, Texas; and Carlsbad, New Mexico; are among the many communities that will challenge records late in the week.

Friday’s long-standing record of 101 F from 1887 is also in jeopardy in San Antonio, Texas.

More importantly than setting records, the intensifying heat will put the millions of residents and animals across the region at risk for heat-related illnesses.

“AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures are expected to soar into the 100s each afternoon,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Max Vido said.

Humidity levels will be highest east of Interstate 35. That can cause RealFeel temperatures to be just as high as communities west of the interstate.

All residents are reminded to drink plenty of water, wear light clothing and avoid strenuous activities during the midday and afternoon hours (the hottest times of the day) to combat the heat.

Be sure that the elderly and children are following these precautions and that animals have proper shelter. Remember never to leave children or pets unattended in a sealed vehicle without air conditioning even for a brief period of time.

The intense heat can result in higher cooling costs for residents and business owners.

“Poor air quality is also likely in the big metro areas, which can further create dangerous conditions for outdoor activities,” Vido said.

Air flowing in from the Gulf of Mexico will keep temperatures in check at coastal communities. However, residents will still have to endure sweltering humidity.

While a cold front dropping down from the north may trim temperatures this weekend, the heat is expected to build right back across the region.

Vido anticipates that the combination of the persistent heat and very few rain chances will put a stress on agriculture.

“This pattern can also worsen and expand the drought across the region,” he added.

An extreme to exceptional drought continues across much of northern and central New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle, western Oklahoma, southern Colorado and southwestern Kansas, according to the report from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

No prolonged heat relief is on the horizon for the South Central states, according to Vido.

“Looking forward, although the heat will lessen at times during June, the hotter-than-normal conditions are expected [for] the majority of days throughout the month,” he said.