Suddenly summer! First heat wave of 2022 on tap for south-central US
Your body is sensitive to temperature change and extreme heat can make you very sick. Here are some heat-related illnesses to watch out for.
The year's first heat wave is brewing for the south-central United States, and AccuWeather meteorologists say temperatures that are typical of midsummer will expand across much of the central Plains and the Ohio Valley to the Great Lakes region and even part of the interior Northeast as well next week.
Not only will it suddenly feel like the weather has jumped forward by two months in much of the Central states, but a substantial heat wave will unfold in the south-central region. Temperatures will average 15-25 degrees Fahrenheit above normal at the peak of the heat wave.
Widespread high temperatures in the 90s F will be common across the region. In portions of Texas, the heat will be especially intense as the mercury will soar to 100 degrees or more. Extreme heat may last for many days from Texas and Oklahoma to Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
The pattern will be brought on by a massive atmospheric traffic jam across the U.S. in which weather systems cease their routine west-to-east motion.
"A large storm and big dip in the jet stream will stall along the Atlantic coast, while a similar jet stream configuration develops over the northern Rockies next week," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.
Over the Central states, a large northward bulge in the jet stream will develop and strengthen, which tends to greatly tone down shower and thunderstorm activity and deliver many days of sunshine, Buckingham explained.
Ninety-degree temperatures will expand from South Texas through much of the Lone Star State late this week with widespread highs forecast to be from the mid-90s to low 100s by this weekend.
Through early May, there have been only a couple of days on which temperatures have surged to warm or hot levels over the South Central region. Brownsville, Texas, hit 104 on April 6, while Omaha, Nebraska, topped 90 on April 12. Nashville and St. Louis have not yet hit 90 in 2022, but that streak will soon come to an end.
In Houston, as well as many other locations in Texas, record highs may be challenged on a daily basis starting on Saturday. Most daily record highs in Houston at this point in May are in the mid-90s. Meanwhile, record highs of 100 and 102 respectively on Saturday and Sunday may be broken in San Antonio. Dallas could reach daily record highs in the mid-90s equaled or topped each day from Saturday to early next week.
Highs in the 90s will become common over the lower portion of the Mississippi Valley this weekend and next week, and as the days go on, the hot weather will spread northward. The heat will expand into the Ohio Valley by the middle of next week.
Nashville and St. Louis could hit 90 for the first time this year on Monday when record highs that have held for the date since the Great Depression era may be challenged. The record high in Nashville, on May 9, is 90 set in 1936, while the record high in St. Louis on May 9 is 92 set in 1934. Both could be shattered amid the approaching heat wave.
The combination of strong May sunshine and other factors will push AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures to 3-5 degrees higher than the actual temperature during the daytime. At least in the case of the heat this week, a stiff wind is likely to develop, and the air will tend to be moderately humid as opposed to very humid. RealFeel® Temperatures will not be as high as they can get in a similar situation during July or August, AccuWeather Meteorologist Randy Adkins said.
Still, at this level, people are advised to take the heat seriously by taking breaks when performing manual labor. People are also urged to engage in outdoor exercise in moderation and drink plenty of fluids.
Another activity AccuWeather forecasters caution people to be mindful of with the year's first heat wave is wading into natural bodies of water in order to cool off. Anyone doing so should be aware of the risk of cold water shock when hot weather hits during the spring and early summer. Water acquires heat far slower than the air or the ground does. Because of the time of the year, water temperatures in area streams, lakes and ponds are well below that of levels in July and August.
By next week, the heat will make it as far north as the Great Lakes region.
Chicago and Detroit, as well as many other cities in the Midwest, have notched only one day where highs were in the 80s thus far this spring. That is about to change as well.
Soon after the weather in the Midwest improves this weekend, temperatures will leap upward by early next week.
"Widespread high temperatures in the 70s, 80s and even a few 90s are possible across the Midwest next week," Buckingham said.
High temperatures within a few degrees of 80 are in store for Chicago beginning on Monday and lasting through next Friday. In Detroit, highs within a few degrees of 80 are likely from next Wednesday to Saturday. Normal highs for both metro areas are in the middle to upper 60s at this time of year.
The warmth will even reach around the stubborn storm parked over the Atlantic by next week. Seventy-degree temperatures are possible as far to the north as James Bay, Canada, Burlington, Vermont, and Caribou, Maine. Multiple days with highs well into the 70s are likely, and some locations may even touch 80 on one or more days next week.
The atmospheric traffic jam will provide a string of days with sunny and rain-free conditions in areas where there have been rounds of rain on a daily or every-other-day basis from the Mississippi Valley to the western slopes of the Appalachians. Construction and agricultural projects that have been held up because of the frequent rain may be able to proceed by next week.
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