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Over 100F (38C) for 38 consecutive days and counting: US heatwave August 2011, excessive heat warnings for 12 states

By WcP.Observer - Posted on 07 August 2011

record heatwave in US: summer 2011
[Aug 5, 2011] A heat wave affected southern US states from California to North Carolina, and temperatures topped 100F (38C) in parts of Texas for the 38th consecutive day.
extreme heat and drought in TX, summer 2011
Texans have endured over a month of extreme heat and drought.

record heatwave in US: summer 2011


The South burns! Dallas sizzles in more than 100 degree heat for 38th day in a row - and looks set to break 1980 record of 42 days

Record breaking temperatures scorched the South today, with Dallas baking under more that 100F heat for the 38th day in a row. After enduring a high of 108F today, forecasts suggest there will be no let up in the area, with temperatures continuing to rage until well into next week. If, as meteorologists predict, the mercury keeps hitting above 100F every day until Sunday, the state will break a 31 year record for the longest running heatwave.

Boiling weather has caused havoc on transport systems. A freight train derailed in drought-hit Texas and could have come off the line due to warped tracks caused by the state's relentless heatwave - its hottest July on record. Thousands of heat records were set during July across the country with Oklahoma racking up the country's highest monthly average temperature ever. That's the highest average temperature, for any month, for any state, at 89.1 degrees, topping an average of 88.1 set in July 1954, associate Oklahoma state climatologist Gary McManus said.

In Texas, the derailed train was carrying grain when 18 of its cars overturned in Mineola, 75 miles from Dallas, in temperatures of around 109F. Officials from Union Pacific have yet to firmly establish the cause of the derailment, but are investigating whether the scorching heat on the track could have been a factor.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported today that last month was the fourth hottest July on record for the U.S. and that Texas and Oklahoma had their warmest months on record.

Mr McManus said: 'We've been beating temperature records left and right, from the 1930s Dust Bowl drought and the 1950s drought.' He also revealed that nationwide, in the past 30 days, 3,709 high temperature records have been set or tied. And, worse, there have been 7,410 records for overnight warmth broken or tied, meaning less chance to recover from the sweltering daytime readings.

'This has been a devastating year,' National Weather Service director Jack Hayes said. 'Natural disasters are on the rise in the United States,' he noted, including records for heat, tornadoes, floods and fires, and with the bulk of hurricane season still remaining.

And it appears that with the end of August did not come the end of the heatwave. Waco, Texas, tied its record for the most consecutive days of 105 degrees or more at six from August 1 to 6. And Dallas-Fort Worth is on pace to establish a new record for consecutive 100-degree days. It's currently at 38 days, from July 2 to August 8 The July average for Texas was 87.1 degrees. Power officials had warned last week of rolling blackouts in the state as sweltering residents turned to air conditioning units in unprecedented numbers.

The current heat wave is typical of U.S. heat waves in the past decade and is consistent with the increasing warm summer night time extremes observed across much of the country since the late 20th century, NOAA reported.

No reprieve: Heat warnings issued for 12 states as U.S. continues to swelter in record-breaking temperatures

Central and southern states continued to bake in sweltering heat today as July's record-breaking temperatures showed no signs of letting up. The National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings for 12 states, including Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

It came the day after forecasters published the official heat statistics for July, which showed high temperature records were broken or tied a staggering 2,676 times last month - almost double the number of a year ago.

Forecaster Kevin Roth said: 'High temperatures this afternoon should be 95 to 100 in most areas east of the Mississippi River - highs of 85 to 95 are expected in the mountains, along the central and eastern Gulf coast and in Florida.'

In Kansas City, Missouri, the National Weather Service predicted a high of 109F today, which would easily eclipse its all-time high of 104F. So far 21 people are believed to have died in the city because of the heat, according to its health department.

On Sunday the weather claimed the life of a three-year-old boy in Warner Robins, Georgia. He died of heat stroke after being left in a parked car.

Wichita, Kansas expected a high of 113 degrees Tuesday, according to the weather service. Temperatures are forecast to exceed 100 degrees there for at least another six days.

Omaha's trash hauler abandoned some routes Monday as 12 workers fell ill during the heat. Two workers were hospitalised and ten were sent home. The temperature hit 98 degrees Monday afternoon in Omaha.

Temperatures in Tennessee are pushing toward 100. Heat advisories are in effect in West Tennessee, where real temperatures will reach triple digits.

In the middle of the state, around Nashville, the upper 90s and low 100s are forecasted, with heat indexes into the 100s. East Tennessee, where it is slightly cooler usually, is under an air quality warning.

Despite complaints from parents and students about the heat, several school systems began classes on Monday. More systems are opening in the next week.

Yesterday forecasters revealed a host of records broken in July. In Washington D.C., it was the hottest month in 140 years, with July temperatures averaging 84.5F at Reagan National Airport, the city’s official weather station. Thermometers hit 90F on 25 occasions, the most on record.

In Newark, New Jersey, temperatures set an all-time record of 108F and they topped 100F for 27 days of the month in Oklahoma City.

Dallas has had 30 straight days of 100F-plus temperatures, just 12 short of its longest ever stretch of 42 in 1980.

In Indianapolis, the average temperature of 82F was the warmest since 1936. Only 0.47 of an inch of rain fell in the city in July, an all-time low.

August is unlikely to offer much of a cool down. The National Weather Service told the Indianapolis Star that the heat dome anchored over the Central and Southern Plains states is locking out colder air currents from Canada and doesn't appear to be going anywhere soon.

Spokesman Chris Vaccaro said the heat wave ‘has affected, at some point, nearly all of the eastern two-thirds of the United States. It has been relentless, with triple-digit heat for weeks, hitting areas that are not accustomed to high heat.’

It isn’t only humans who are sweltering in the Texas heat. Fish are also dying in large numbers because of the combination of higher water temperatures and lower lake levels that deplete the amount of oxygen they need to breath.

‘It can get to the point where the fish actually do not have enough oxygen in the water and they will suffer,’ explained Larry Hodge, of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. ‘You’ll first see them at the surface trying to gulp air and then eventually, if it becomes severe enough, they may die,’ he added.

Mr Hodge told the CBS affiliate in North Texas that farm ponds and small bodies of water are especially at risk and can reach highs of 90F. ‘Because they have less ability to withstand the temperature changes, because there’s less water in them, so their temperature tends to go up and down faster than a big body of water,’ he said. ‘If it’s a small pond the pond owner can actually aerate the water by agitating the water. Anything to mix air with the water will help.’

But he added that the only real way to help was for some rain or for temperatures to fall back down below 100F.

24 die due to US heat wave

[July 23, 2011] The US National Weather Service has sounded a high-temperature alert in 30 states, after a heat wave resulted in the death of at least 24 people. The weather service also said staying outdoors for any length of time was dangerous, especially for seniors, children, heart patients and
people with breathing problems, EFE news agency reported.

Friday was an extremely hot day in several states on the east coast, according to officials.

In New Jersey, authorities said some 100 people, mostly teenagers, fainted from the heat in Camden, where over 12,000 people had gathered for a rock concert.

The first death related to the heat wave occurred in Kansas City. Authorities reported 13 heat-related deaths in Missouri, including two women over 70.

Citing the Chicago Sun-times, Xinhua reported that autopsies on Friday revealed that at least seven people from the Chicago area died from heat related causes in the last three scorching days.

Officials said an 18-year-old man collapsed after biking, running and being outdoors with family and friends. Six other elder Chicagoans also died from heat related causes.


Images courtesy of BBC and Mail Online

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