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YUCK! Triple-digit temperatures on the way this week

A “heat dome” that has scorched Texas will move into Alabama this week, and the feels-like temperature could rise to 113 degrees, according to a local meteorologist.

Ashley Ravenscraft with the National Weather Service in Huntsville said local temperatures this week will be the hottest the area has experienced this year. The forecast calls for highs of 90 degrees Tuesday and 93 on Wednesday before climbing to 99 Thursday and 101 Friday, when the heat index will be 12 degrees higher.

“We’ll probably have heat advisories and maybe even excessive heat warnings later on this week for Thursday and Friday,” Ravenscraft said. “Saturday looks pretty warm, too. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the first of several (heat waves) this year.”

Another local meteorologist, Jennifer Saari, said that this heat wave is caused by a “ridge of high pressure,” commonly referred to as a heat dome.

“That ridge, or that area of high pressure that’s moving into the region is pretty strong, and that’s causing this heat.”

Saari added that the heat is moving in from the “Southern Plains area,” or the Texas area.

She said that there is a small chance of showers or storms, with the highest chances being around 30% to 40% on Saturday and Sunday. She said that typically storms and showers happen in low pressure, but “even though there will be high pressure and it’ll be hot, sometimes in the afternoon hours you are able to squeeze out just enough moisture to get a few showers.”

Ravenscraft said local residents should be aware of the heat, make preparations and “get the word out.” She recommended staying hydrated, taking breaks in the shade, and watching out for fatigue. She also said people who have children, pets, or know anyone susceptible to heat should take precautions.

A heat dome occurs when stationary high pressure with warm air combines with warmer than usual air in the Gulf of Mexico and heat from the sun that is nearly directly overhead, Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon told The Associated Press.

The Associated Press reported that the heat caused Texas’ power grid operator, Electric Reliability Council of Texas, to ask residents last week to voluntarily cut back on electricity because of anticipated record demand on the system.

In December 2022, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) experienced the first ever implementation of energy load reductions, also known as “rolling blackouts,” in its ninety-year history during Winter Storm Elliott.

These blackouts left customers across North Alabama, from rural electric cooperatives to large business entities, without power.

This summer, North Alabama may face similar circumstances, as the North American Electric Reliability Corporation has assessed the region as having an “elevated” seasonal risk of power grid stress.

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