Not much has been posted on the MWN Blog of late, mainly because the Memphis area has had little to talk about weather-wise, other than the heat. So, since the heat doesn't seem to be going away, I'll talk about it!
The current string of hot weather can certainly be called a heat wave, which is defined in the meteorological community (AMS Glossary of Meteorology) as "a period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and usually humid weather." We're now entering our second stretch of Heat Advisories, which require daytime heat index values of 105 or higher (the danger level) and low temperatures generally near 80 or higher, though consecutive days in the mid to upper 70s generally is allowable as well. Here are some facts about our current hot stretch (data from Memphis International Airport), as of June 18:
- Daytime high temperatures have been above normal for 29 consecutive days
- Nighttime low temperatures have been above normal for 30 consecutive days
- The average high and low temps over that stretch have been 90.5 and 69.7, respectively
- Average departure from normal during the stretch is +5.6 degrees
- Today marks the 7th consecutive day of 94+ degree high temperatures
- The last low temperature in the 60s was June 7th (68) and it is the only 60s low so far in June
- Normal high and low temperatures for this date are 90 and 70, respectively
- No individual daily records have been broken
Unfortunately, the heat doesn't look to be abating anytime soon. The MWN Forecast shows high temperatures remaining in the mid 90s or higher (perhaps a couple of 100 degree readings across the region this weekend) through the end of next week with afternoon rain chances that provide some temporary relief dwindling. The unrelenting heat is due to a large dome of high pressure at the surface and aloft that covers most of the southeastern U.S. This "Bermuda High" typically doesn't start exerting it's full force until later in July and August. It strengthened early, therefore it feels like July a month early.
The longer the heat lasts, the greater potential for negative consequences on the general public, but especially those who are very young, the elderly, and those with chronic illness or who work outdoors for long stretches. Be sure to check out, and follow, the National Weather Service's Heat Safety Tips as the heat wave continues.
Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Take frequent breaks if outdoors. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, even if you don't feel thirsty. Don't forget to check on your pets and provide lots of water. And check on those more prone to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, especially those without air conditioning.
Play it safe and stay cool!