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Texas Heat Wave Breaks Records, Threatening Power Grid And Residents

Texas heatwave to continue through June, spreading to central US next week, putting power grid and residents under pressure.

A weather pattern that has led to record-shattering heat in Texas this week will persist for the rest of the month, and AccuWeather forecasters say that more locales in the central U.S. will be feeling the heat beginning next week.

Triple-digit heat has been the norm in Texas as of late, with some areas reaching temperatures not seen in over a century of record keeping. The ridge of high pressure responsible for the heat wave, dubbed by many meteorologists as a ‘heat dome,’ will hang tough over the state through at least the end of June, potentially putting more all-time temperature records in jeopardy.

The threat of continued hot weather comes on the heels of warnings from Texas’s power operator, ERCOT, that the state’s electrical grid is stressed due to the record heat, and that residents should conserve power.

Millions more will be sizzling come next week, as the heat dome expands north to encompass the central Plains and even parts of the Mississippi Valley, according to AccuWeather forecasters.

Before the expansion of hot air next week, Texas will bear the brunt of the heat. After about 10 days of 90-degree heat, most around the DallasFort Worth Metroplex will reach the century mark beginning this weekend. The Houston area will also return to triple-digit territory by Sunday, after briefly falling below it for a few days late this week.

The epicenter of the extreme temperatures has been across central and western Texas, where the heat has been unprecedented in modern record keeping.

On Tuesday, San Angelo smashed its all-time record high of 111 degrees, previously reached four other times in 1933, 1943, 1944 and 1960, when the mercury rose to an astonishing 114 degrees. Remarkably, the temperature of 114 was recorded again on Wednesday.

Del Rio also broke its all-time record high of 112 degrees – previously reached in both 2020 and 1988 – by rising to an astonishing 113 on Tuesday then to 115 on Wednesday.

In addition, Del Rio exceeded its previous record high of 112 degrees, set in both 2020 and 1988, by soaring to an astounding 113 degrees on Tuesday and 115 degrees on Wednesday. ACCUWEATHER

For additional context on the extreme heat in Texas, the nation’s standard-bearer for hot weather, Death Valley, California, has not recorded a temperature higher than 113 F so far this year.

“All-time record high temperatures could be reached again in western Texas between Sunday and Wednesday of next week,” warned AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg.

The record temperatures do not tell the whole story. With high humidity levels also present and the strongest solar energy of the year – thanks to the summer solstice – bearing down on the region, AccuWeather RealFeel® Sun Temperatures have been and will continue to exceed 115 in some areas each afternoon. At this level, the heat is considered ‘very dangerous’ and can lead to dehydration, heatstroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps in a short amount of time.

Beginning this weekend, and especially next week, some states that have largely avoided record-high temperatures so far this month will begin to feel the extreme heat as the dome expands north and east.

In Oklahoma City, the mercury has not risen above 93 degrees so far this season, but AccuWeather forecasters expect it to reach into the upper 90s by Sunday then the triple digits toward the middle and end of next week.

Wichita, Little Rock and Shreveport could also reach their first 100-degree days of the season next week, amid humidity and bright sunshine that will lead to RealFeel temperatures as high as 110.

Fueled by the heat, thunderstorms have also been roaming across the southern Plains over the last several days. Some have turned severe and knocked out power, even producing deadly tornadoes and destructive wind gusts. On Wednesday afternoon, a storm generated a 97-mph wind gust at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport that set an all-time record for the observing station.

“For those still without power from recent storms, the intense heat may be difficult to cope with,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Gresiak.

Standing in the mid-afternoon heat, a worker takes a break to drink during a parking lot asphalt resurfacing job in Richardson, Texas, Tuesday, June 20, 2023. LM OTERO/AP PHOTO

That dangerous mix of hot weather and no power complicates the situation for ERCOT, which is also warning about record demand and the possibility of rolling blackouts across Texas. The power supplier is asking Texans to voluntarily conserve power between the peak hours of 4 and 8 p.m. due to the stress on the grid which, since it is run independently, cannot draw surplus power from surrounding states.

The risk of daily severe thunderstorms will abate as the heat dome expands this weekend into next week, pushing the showers and storms toward the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard. However, the heat in the Plains could have real staying power, according to AccuWeather experts.

“I would posit, according to the latest computer model data, that there will be no real relief from the extreme heat until maybe the Independence Day weekend, and even that may be generous,” warned Lundberg.

Produced in association with AccuWeather

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