Summerlike heat to scorch the South as temperatures challenge record highs

·3 min read

After numerous temperature records were smashed across the South in late March, another building high pressure area will usher in well above-average temperatures across the region once again this week.

New Orleans experienced a seven-day streak of record-high temperatures from the 23rd to the 29th of March, with record-challenging temperatures continuing on the 30th and 31st.

The last time the Big Easy experienced an afternoon high temperature below average was nearly a month ago on March 7th, so to say it has been a warm start to spring may be a bit of an understatement.

On Tuesday, the high in New Orleans was 88 degrees Fahrenheit, which broke the date's record of 86 set in 1986. Daily record highs were also broken or tied in Tulsa and McAlester, Oklahoma; Fayetteville, Arkansas; and Condordia, Kansas, on Tuesday as temperatures soared into the 80s and 90s.

The forecast at midweek will continue the trend of record-breaking temperatures.

Surging warmth on Wednesday will also provide fuel for severe thunderstorms across the Tennessee Valley on Wednesday.

The showers and thunderstorms across the South are not expected to deter temperatures from climbing into record territory for some.

Shreveport, Louisiana, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Raleigh, North Carolina, are expected to climb into the middle 80s to near 90 F, while portions of Florida inland from the coast could climb into the lower 90s.

The persistent heat and humidity that has been in place across the South also has the Gulf of Mexico heating up as well. Sea-surface temperatures are currently well above average, with portions of the central and southern Gulf already experiencing water temperatures above 80 degrees.

Many intercoastal waterways across Florida are also reporting water temperatures above 80 degrees already.

This could become a concern as we head into hurricane season, as AccuWeather meteorologists are predicting a rather busy season this year. Typically, hurricane season spans from June through October.

Although the tropics are beginning to heat up, there are no storm systems that are expected to brew across the western Atlantic anytime in the near future.

Back on land, many of the usual activities people resort to in order to beat the heat have been altered or canceled as COVID-19 concerns continue to envelope the country.

With many area beaches, especially across the state of Florida being closed, air conditioning units will be forced to work overtime as people remain at home. This will likely tack on additional costs to electric bills and add additional stressors to personal finances.

The heat and humidity can also put an additional strain on medical staff working in COVID-19 triage tents, which are popping up at an increased pace across the South.

People keeping their social distance by spending time outdoors will want to make sure they stay properly hydrated and protected from the sun by wearing hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. If you must work outside, taking frequent breaks in the shade and drinking plenty of water or electrolyte beverages will greatly lower the risk of heat-related illnesses.

Remember to never leave children or pets in a sealed vehicle for any length of time. The temperature inside the vehicle can rise to lethal levels in a matter of minutes, even during the early spring months.

Relief from the heat will arrive across the South in the form of a cold front that will sweep across much of the nation into late week.

It is possible that as the cold front tracks southward, it could interact with a storm system tracking through the Southwest. While any adverse weather from this potential storm would likely hold off until the weekend, it could pose a threat for severe weather if ingredients come together correctly.

Of course, AccuWeather meteorologists will continue to monitor and provide the latest forecast updates in the days to come.

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