Extreme heat baking much of Texas, with forecasters saying no relief anytime soon

Summer hasn't officially started, but extreme heat is already making itself right at home in Texas

Juan A. Lozano
Friday 16 June 2023 23:16 BST

Summer doesn’t officially start until next week, but extreme heat was already making itself right at home in Texas on Friday, with temperatures soaring above triple digits in many cities.

Excessive heat warnings or heat advisories were issued for much of Texas, including Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, Laredo and San Antonio, according to the National Weather Service. Some of the cities with triple digit highs on Friday included Austin, Del Rio, Junction, Laredo and San Angelo.

Houston’s excessive heat warning was the first one issued for the city in nearly seven years. The temperature on Friday in Houston rose to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius), with a heat index of 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Celsius). The temperature in Corpus Christi was also 95 degrees by Friday afternoon, but its heat index swelled to 119 degrees (48 degrees Celsius). Heat index values take into account the temperature and relative humidity and indicate how hot it feels outdoors.

“We do see these temperatures most summers. The thing that’s different about this particular heat episode is that it’s earlier than we normally see it,” said Tim Cady, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Houston/Galveston.

Cady said the excessive heat is being caused by a “really persistent ridge of high pressure” that’s sitting over the south-central United States.

“It could be well into next week before we really see any relief from this,” he said.

Earlier this week, the city of Houston activated its public health heat emergency plan, which includes having all city libraries and multi-service centers serve as cooling centers on weekdays and Saturdays.

“We all know Houston sometimes can be uncomfortably hot in the summer. I want everyone to understand this forecast calls for heat and humidity that is dangerous and potentially deadly for some of our vulnerable Houstonians,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said this week.

Officials in other cities, including Austin, Corpus Christi and Laredo, have also opened cooling centers for their residents.

“Anyone ready for Winter yet?” the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi said in a tweet on Friday.

While many Texans were dealing with the heat, others in the Texas Panhandle town of Perryton were still cleaning up on Friday after a tornado tore through their community.

Earlier this week, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state’s power grid, issued a weather watch, letting residents know that the temperatures were expected to cause high demand for electricity.

On Friday afternoon, power grid conditions were normal and there was enough power for current demand, according to ERCOT.

The power grid manager has been under scrutiny since a deadly winter blackout in February 2021 left more than 4 million people without power in subfreezing weather.

With the long Juneteenth holiday weekend, Cady said people should take precautions during the dangerous heat, including avoiding strenuous activity during the day, wearing light clothing and drinking plenty of fluids.

“We’re really stressing heat safety this weekend,” Cady said.


Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70

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