The South is in the middle of a wave of record heat expected to continue through the July 4 holiday. A stubborn heat dome of high pressure over Texas that has kept heat indexes at dangerous levels for several days is forecast to shift slightly to the east and north this week, bringing the most significant heat of the season thus far to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
“Since we’re hotter than Death Valley right now, is it safe to say that the Concho Valley is the new Death Valley this June? Cause this heat and humidity is sure feeling like death to be honest,” forecasters in San Angelo, Texas, tweeted Sunday during the record-breaking heat. A few days earlier, temperatures hit 119 degrees in the Big Bend area, which was one degree from tying Texas’ record high of 120 in 1936 and 1994, according to the National Weather Service.
Places like Del Rio, Texas, could hit their 10th record in a row for the daily high temperature Tuesday, according to forecasters.
The heat is expected to expand north and east, potentially breaking record daily temperatures in Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Temperatures in some of these locations will push well into the triple digits during the day, and they won’t cool much during the evening.
“The heat will be oppressive,” forecasters with the Weather Prediction Center said Monday.
Heat index levels — what temperatures feel like when combined with humidity — are forecast to reach levels near 120 degrees across the South.
“There may be more danger than a typical heat event,” the forecasters tweeted Monday, “due to the longevity of elevated record high nighttime lows and elevated heat index readings during the day.” They warned that it was important to find a way to cool off and limit exposure to the heat.
Some hints in the computer forecast weather models indicate that parts of Texas may return to normal highs over the coming weekend.