Heat wave to sear central U.S. over Labor Day weekend

By Renee Duff,
Baseball fan Mark Stuhlsatz uses a water bottle to spray himself in the 90-degree heat at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on July 30. It will be a hot Labor Day weekend over much of the United States. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
1 of 2 | Baseball fan Mark Stuhlsatz uses a water bottle to spray himself in the 90-degree heat at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on July 30. It will be a hot Labor Day weekend over much of the United States. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Records dating back nearly a century could be broken over the extended holiday weekend as a dome of heat builds across the middle of the nation during the first days of September.

AccuWeather meteorologists say the scorching conditions could put a significant strain on those spending time outdoors as college football season kicks off.


The unofficial end of summer for many feels like the heart of the season as temperatures soar through the 90s and even touch 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas.

AccuWeather meteorologists say the heat burst across the central United States will shift eastward in time for the Labor Day holiday itself, causing a resurgence of 90-degree weather along the Interstate 95 corridor.

Temperatures will begin to rise on Friday and will climb even higher heading into Labor Day on Monday as an area of high pressure flexes its muscle across the nation's midsection.


High temperatures in the 90s will be widespread across the Plains states through the holiday weekend, with pockets of 100-degree readings stretching from parts of South Dakota to Texas. Temperatures at these levels are 10 to 20 degrees above the historical averages, approaching or even eclipsing record territory.

AccuWeather's forecast has Minneapolis coming within a few degrees of 100 degrees on Sunday and Monday, which would break or tie daily records from 1925. The historical average high in the city at the start of September is in the upper 70s, falling a degree every few days as the fall equinox approaches.

In Chicago, daytime temperatures during the latter part of the weekend and the beginning of next week can rival high marks set back in the 1950s as the thermometer soars into the 90s for consecutive days. This wave of heat is expected to be longer-lasting than the heat wave that gripped the Midwest during the fourth week of August and sent Chicago's temperature soaring to the 100-degree mark.

By Tuesday, the heat will be trimmed across the northern Plains with the cooler conditions expected to sweep into the Midwest by the middle of the week.


Farther south, across the central and southern Plains, the heat is not expected to eclipse record territory but will be impressive nonetheless.

"Just because it's not record-breaking heat does not diminish how sweltering it will be in these areas," AccuWeather meteorologist Alex DaSilva said.

Places such as Wichita, Kan., Oklahoma City and Dallas are coming off a searing stretch of weather during the second week of August that led to consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures. These areas are expected to continue to swelter well beyond the first days of September.

The heat building over the holiday weekend will only be the start of another prolonged stretch of summer heat for the South Central states, as sweltering conditions could last through at least the first week of September, according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Joe Lundberg.

The intensity of the hot weather this late in the season poses health concerns as fall sports ramp up.

"It's going to be a hot afternoon on Saturday for college football openers across the heartland," Lundberg said.

Nashville, Iowa City, Iowa, Norman, Okla., and Fort Worth, Texas, will host early afternoon tilts on the college gridiron, and temperatures at that time will be in the 90s to near 100, Lundberg said.


Hydration will be critical for fans and players alike. People tailgating ahead of evening matchups will want to take similar precautions.

"In addition, electrolyte losses will be substantial for the athletes, making it imperative to continually replenish them in an effort to ward off cramping," Lundberg said.

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