Editor’s Note: A version of this article originally appeared in the weekly weather newsletter, the CNN Weather Brief, which is released every Monday. You can sign up here to receive them every week and during significant storms.
I’m hot as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!
It’s my version of the infamous line from Paddy Chayefsky’s 1976 movie, “Network.”
It has been my mantra since early June as Atlanta has held an average high temperature of 90 degrees, not to mention an average low temperature of 72 since summer began. It just isn’t cooling off much.
But Atlanta is not the worst off, and I don’t know why more of you are not screaming from your window.
Some of you have been baking under unrelenting oven-like heat, literally sucking the moisture out of the ground and plants.
I’m looking at you, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, which have been under an intense heat wave creating a ‘flash drought’ and forcing some ranchers to sell their cattle.
And just over a week ago, we received a few emails from folks in the Northeast who asked if they were ever going to get a heat wave. Be careful what you wish for. Newark, New Jersey, just set its longest stretch of above 100-degree days ever.
One of my New York-based colleagues told me this morning, “Two of my best friends are heat lovers (freaks), and both of THEM have admitted they’re miserable, so yeah, it’s bad.”
This week there is some good news about the heat but also some bad and some ugly news.
“Another hot day (albeit less so than yesterday) is expected for the region with high temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s,” the National Weather Service in New York wrote Monday morning.
Yeah, I know. I said good news. But trust me, it is good. The past weekend’s temperatures were in the low 90s by lunchtime and by the late afternoon were pushing over the triple-digit mark.
Power outages due to the heat were reported in the region, forcing people to find other ways to stay cool.
And then there was the humidity this weekend, which made it feel even worse.
The good news is after the storms push through, today’s temperatures will moderate through the end of the week.
“The stifling heat that enveloped much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic this weekend will be on its last leg today as daytime highs make one last run at the low to mid 90s from central Virginia on north to southern New England,” the Weather Prediction Center said.
It won’t be cool, but it should be slightly better than this past weekend.
Triple-digit heat will still linger in the southern Plains.
Dallas is having its third-hottest summer on record. The temperature has been so warm, it has felt as hot as Las Vegas all summer. It also hasn’t rained in 51 days and counting, making it the seventh-longest stretch with no rain on record.
Houston, Austin, San Antonio are all seeing their warmest summer.
Here is the Texas-size good news:
The heat may ease to near-normal conditions later in the week, with high temperatures just slightly into the 90s.
“The south-central US has seen prolonged excessive heat in recent weeks, and this is forecast to finally moderate back towards normal temperatures by the start of the medium range period as a cold front settles across the south-central US,” the Weather Prediction Center noted.
Oklahoma will get the biggest break. Later in the week, their high temperatures will settle down into the 80s.
In Texas, it will still be hot, but any break from the extremes will be a welcome sight. And there is a slight chance of some rainfall breaking the entirely too long dry streak in some locations like Dallas.
Even a 10% chance of rain is worth celebrating, especially if it comes true.
The Pacific Northwest, like the Northeast, has had it pretty easy so far this summer. But just like how the pendulum swung almost overnight for the Northeast over the weekend, the same will happen in the Northwest this week.
“Daily record highs will likely be broken from northern California to the Portland and Seattle metro areas on Tuesday,” the Weather Prediction Center pointed out.
Temperatures will soar into the 90s for many, and some inland locations are forecast to climb into the triple digits this week.
The forecast temperatures are as much as 10-20 degrees above normal.
The worst part is it isn’t expected to cool off at night.
“Record warm minimum temps are also expected in similar parts of the Pacific Northwest through Wednesday,” the Weather Prediction Center added.
The little glimmer of hope is the temperatures are currently not forecast to reach the level of last summer’s mind-boggling heat records. But it is still going to be hot, in an area of our country not equipped for the heat, which is very similar to the situation played out in the UK last week.
“There is some forecast uncertainty with the timing of when the temperatures will moderate again, but current forecasts show some lowering of the temperatures, though still above normal, by next weekend,” the Weather Prediction Center emphasized.
And it won’t just be the Northwest. Central California is seeing above average temperatures this week, where firefighters are having to deal with the dire consequences of drought and heat, in the form of explosive wildfires.
California’s rapidly-growing Oak Fire engulfs homes near Yosemite National Park
The stifling heat is a long-term global trend.
I get it. It’s maddening. It’s what makes me really want to scream.
In fact, some scientists say there is growing evidence suggesting extreme temperatures have an effect on mental disorders.
The heat just gets under your skin. Many of us in the US have experienced 90-degree heat or hotter in the past week. More than 80% of us have, and we aren’t alone. China is experiencing unbearable heat and locations in Europe were pushing the thermometer where it had never been before last week.
Watch this clip from the UK.
“Harbingers of doom,” is what an anchor said as she lashed out at a meteorologist over the heat wave reporting.
And not that I want to be the harbinger of doom, but outside-the-normal heat is here to stay.
There have been 34 all-time heat records in the US already this year, and only one cold high-temperature record.
Globally, there have been 118 all-time hot records and only 10 all-time cold high temperatures.
This is precisely what we expect with a warming world. With climate change, we may still see some cold records but over time, we will see far less of them and many more heat records.
And it looks like as we enter the dog days of summer, we are likely to see even more records fall.
The outlook for the US in August shows the chances of above-average temperatures persisting across the lower 48 states.
The scary thing is heat deaths have outpaced hurricane deaths by more than 15-to-1 over the past decade, according to data tracked by the National Weather Service. Making it a “silent killer.”
What makes it even more difficult to swallow is heat, despite affecting everyone, is more likely to affect those below the poverty line.