Summer 2022 was the hottest on record in Houston, Texas, with temperatures averaging a whopping 86.7 degrees. July in the same year hasn’t also been much better for the city – the average temperature has been 88.5 degrees.
What causes Texas heat waves? We’ll find out in this article.
Why Are The Texas Heat Waves Happening?
According to Meteorologist Matt Lanza, it’s because of the unusually high-pressure ridge in the upper atmosphere that shows little progress in settling down. It has remained stationary over the southern plains, scorching Texas for the most part.
Moreover, according to more investigations, there are 3 reasons why central Texas is suffering heat waves: low moisture in the land, weather patterns bringing in dry air from urban Mexico, and climate change.
According to State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, the weather phenomena known as La Niña contributed to this winter and spring’s dry conditions, leaving South Texas more prone to heat. La Niña is the cold phase of the El Nino Southern Oscillation, an ocean temperature oscillation that affects global weather. During La Niña, the average sea surface temperature in the southern Pacific Ocean is below average.
Because of La Nina’s impact on the jet stream, the state of Texas often experiences weather that is both hotter and drier than usual, which persists until the fall. While Texas summer heat waves are expected, climate change is increasing its severity. As climate change exacerbates weather conditions, drier and more prolonged droughts are anticipated to become increasingly widespread in the following years.
Texas Drought Season?
As of the 3rd quarter of 2022, Texas is suffering from a drought.
According to the most current map from U.S. Drought Monitor, sections of Harris County ranged from moderate to exceptional drought. 2011 had the worst drought in Texas’ modern history.
Heatwaves in Other Parts of the US
Many regions of the United States, including Texas, are experiencing high heat conditions.
Colorado recorded a record-breaking temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, exceeding the 2021 peak of 98 degrees. While in Tulsa, the temperature reached 105 degrees, surpassing the previous high of 99 degrees in 2001. Temperature records were also broken at Muskogee, McAlester, Fayetteville, and Fort Smith, among other cities.
One way this heat wave ends is a sudden rush of cold fronts moving toward the states. However, experts and authorities have no formal information on the end of the heatwave in these regions, particularly in Texas. It is expected that heat waves continue to happen during the summer months in the following years.
What Are Texans’ Greatest Concerns?
No. 1 is energy consumption and power supply. In June 2022, Texas reached a record for power use. The demand surpasses 75 gigawatts, breaking the record in 2019.
The second factor would be the effects on people’s finances. Energy costs have grown by almost 40 percent in the last six or seven months.
Heat Waves Safety
Ways to stay cool include;
- Stay indoors as much as possible, particularly from the hottest times of the day, between 12 pm and 7 pm.
- Keep hydrated by drinking water and juice, and avoid drinks with caffeine, such as tea and coffee.
- Avoid strenuous activity, especially outdoors. Avoid activities that make you sweat, such as gardening or working in the heat.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing and keep the body covered.
- Cover windows at night with blackout curtains, or use tinted blinds to keep the house cool.
- If you’re staying out for a long, apply sunscreen a minimum of 30 minutes before sun exposure.
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and drink plenty of water.
- When the sun is shining, it’s easy to feel the heat. But it’s important to remember not to ignore any symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
- Close the windows to keep the house cooler.
- Install ceiling fans that circulate cool air and save energy costs from too much AC.
- Check the thermostat to ensure it’s working correctly and not overheating to prevent additional expenses.
Knowing what to do before and during a heatwave can prevent you from experiencing heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Remember that heatstroke and heat exhaustion can cause death. Stay safe in the summer heat!
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