Weather whiplash: A week after record cool weather, “jungle-like” heat envelops central U.S.


Watches, warnings, and advisories from the National Weather Service. Heat advisories (orange) have been issued for much of the northern and central Plains. An excessive heat warning (magenta) has been issued for the Minneapolis metro. (NWS)

In a bit of weather whiplash, the Plains states are baking in 100+ degree heat indices after last week’s record-breaking fall-like temperatures. Heat advisories have been issued from Minnesota to Kansas on Monday, effective until the evening hours.

In Minneapolis, an excessive heat warning has been issued. The National Weather Service warns that temperatures in the 90s, combined with “oppressive dew points in the middle to upper 70s will result in heat indices ranging from 100 to 110 degrees.” The low in Minneapolis is going to be a toasty 75 degrees. Last week, lows were in the mid-50s.

The Weather Service is particularly concerned that because this summer has been relatively cool for most in the central U.S., that this heat might catch them off-guard. Just last week, the Upper Midwest was seeing lows in the 40s and 50s.

 

Dew point forecast from the GFS model for Tuesday. (weatherbell.com)

850 mb temperature, height, and wind speed. Warm air surges north into the Plains states on Monday. (weatherbell.com)

In addition to the heat, the Storm Prediction Center has issued a moderate risk of severe weather on Monday. Writes meteorologist Paul Douglas, “Today will be a test: jungle-like heat and humidity, followed by an outbreak of potentially violent storms by tonight. Yes, something for everyone. And a far cry from last Monday, when a swirl of Canadian air had us reaching for sweatshirts and fiddling with our furnaces.”

The severe will take shape mainly in the form of strong winds and hail, with a potential for a derecho event, according to the high-resolution weather models. While wind will be the largest source of damage in the area, the Center warns that very large hail and a couple of tornadoes are also possible. The soggy warm air mass will feed these storms as they rake across the northern Plains.


Forecast radar reflectivity from the NCEP High Resolution Rapid Refresh model shows the potential for a derecho event Monday evening. (weatherbell.com, adapted by CWG)

Further south, Kansas City is expected to reach 92 degrees on Monday, and 97 on Tuesday. This, combined with surging dew points, will lead heat indices to top 100 on both days, and possibly 107 on Tuesday. Lows in the region will likely only dip to the mid-70s, providing very little overnight relief from the heat. This is a far cry from last week’s record lows. On Thursday, Kansas City set a record low for the date of 55 degrees.

As always, it’s important for people within these advisories to stay indoors as much as possible. If you need to venture out into the heat, wear light-colored clothing and drink plenty of water. Check on your neighbors, as well — the elderly are particularly susceptible to heat-related illness.

Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.
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