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September heat wave to have parts of central U.S. feeling like July again

By Alex Sosnowski, Accuweather.com
Tae Jones, 7, and his sister Riya, 4, beat the 100- degree heat in July in the jet sprays at the City Garden in St. Louis. High temperatures are expected to return to the region next week. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/e490950101333e40ab87f722fdd25927/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Tae Jones, 7, and his sister Riya, 4, beat the 100- degree heat in July in the jet sprays at the City Garden in St. Louis. High temperatures are expected to return to the region next week. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

A heat dome is forecast to build over the south-central United States this weekend and persist into next week, AccuWeather meteorologists say.

The stifling heat will have millions over the central and southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley sweltering as temperatures reach levels more appropriate for the middle of the summer during a five- to seven-day stretch.

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Many people over the central states may have thought they had seen the last of blistering heat and sweltering humidity for this year. The United States as a whole experienced its third hottest summer on record, and for some in Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, Mississippi and Iowa, it was the hottest summer since records have been kept for more than 100 years.

"As the heat dome forms and strengthens, temperatures will trend to 10-20 degrees above average and more typical of July," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson said. "At this level in mid- to late September, many daily record highs will be challenged."

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Many of the daily record highs that could be bested from Sunday to Tuesday were set more than 60 years ago in the 1950s, and some daily record highs could be topped that were set even farther back. The record high of 96 on Sunday in Kansas City, Mo., was set nearly 100 years ago in 1925. According to the latest AccuWeather forecast, a high of 94 degrees F is expected in Kansas City on Sunday.

The mercury could approach record highs farther to the east in St. Louis and Memphis, Tenn., and farther to the north in Omaha, Neb. However, while temperatures will be 5-10 degrees above average over much of the Great Lakes, northern Plains and the Ohio Valley, 90-degree readings are likely to be absent, as well as record-challenging heat.

Temperatures are likely to peak in the mid-80s around Chicago through Saturday with highs in the low to mid-80s from Sunday to early next week.

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Denver will be on the western edge of the heat wave this time as highs in the low 90s are likely early next week. Earlier in September, multiple days with highs in the upper 90s occurred in the Mile High City.

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The core of the heat is likely to stay north of Texas, where highs in the 100s were common this summer. Dallas had 47 days with triple-digit highs, including 21 days in a row of 100 degrees or better this summer, according to the National Weather Service. The heat is likely to peak in the mid-90s during this upcoming heat wave.

Some locations could come within a few degrees of their high-temperature marks of the year. Highs in the 90s will be widespread over the middle of the nation and some locations in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arkansas can reach or exceed 100 degrees.

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Wichita and Dodge City, Kan., are among the list of locations likely to reach or exceed the 100-degree mark early next week. The last time Dodge City hit 100 or higher was on Aug. 29, but Wichita has not experienced a triple-digit high since Aug. 15.

The highest temperature Topeka, Kan., experienced this summer was 103 degrees on July 23. On Monday and Tuesday of next week, temperatures there are forecast to reach the upper 90s. Similarly, Kansas City is forecast to peak just a few degrees shy of its season-high mark of 100 degrees F set on multiple days in July.

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Temperatures peaked at 103 back on July 8 in Memphis. A high in the upper 90s to near 100 is forecast from Monday to Wednesday in the city.

Along with the heat will come a surge in humidity levels. "The combination of building heat and humidity with light winds and sunshine will make for dangerous conditions," AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said.

People should seek an air-conditioned environment when possible and avoid strenuous exercise and hard manual labor during the midday and afternoon hours, experts say. When it is impossible to avoid such activities, intake of non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated fluids is strongly recommended to reduce the risk of dehydration, muscle cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

"High school and college athletes could be at risk this weekend, and especially during practice sessions next week when the heat wave is going to peak," Porter said. "Even though heat waves during the autumn are not usually as intense as those during the middle of the summer, heat-related illnesses can still sneak up on some individuals and precautions should be taken."

Steering breezes are likely to carry smoke from numerous wildfires burning across the western United States to portions of the Plains, Midwest and East in the coming days. The most notable factors of the smoke will be a hazy appearance to the sun and an orange and red sky during sunrises and sunsets. The high-flying smoke is not likely to have a significant negative impact on air quality in the Central and Eastern states.

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The heat wave is likely to break down later next week as the zone of high pressure at most levels of the atmosphere weakens. A push of cool air that is likely to aim for the Northeast and Great Lakes region should also expand southward across the Plains and much of the Mississippi Valley.

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