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Wednesday, 10 August 2016 11:39

Why the 'Heat Dome' Will Scorch Nearly the Entire US This Weekend Featured

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A blast of sweltering heat
sweept across the United States
over the past ten days, and some
places will see temperatures as
much as 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit
(5.6 to 8.3 degrees Celsius)
above average for this
time of year, according to
the National Weather Service.
Hot weather in
July/August is to be expected,
of course — after
all, it's the middle of summer
— but a so-called heat
dome is kicking these hot
and humid temperatures up
a notch.
A heat dome happens
when a "dome" of
high pressure traps hot air
underneath it, said Mike
Musher, a meteorologist at
the NWS' Weather Prediction
Center in College Park,
Maryland. What we have
seen the past week was an
enormous dome that enveloped
much of the Midwest
before moving toward
the East Coast he said.]This dome formed largely
because the jet stream passing over
the U.S.-Canada border prevented
cooler air from pushing southward,
Musher said. "During the summer
months, with the jet typically so far
north and not much cold air to dig
into the united states, it's natural
for these large high pressure systems
to develop," he said.
Much of the country felt
scorching temperatures the past
two weeks, according to weather
prediction maps published by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA). In Minneapolis,
for example, the average
temperature on July 21 is 84 degrees
F (29 degrees Celsius),
Musher said. But last weekend, it
was in the mid- to high 90s Fahrenheit
(about 35 to 37 degrees Celsius),
he said.
By as the heat dome moved
eastward,, some relief was felt as,
temperatures in parts of the Midwest
dropped to the 80s.But the
heat will continue to sizzle some
areas and may return with a
vengeance. Last Sunday, temperatures
hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit
(37 degrees Celsius) in several
states, including parts of Kansas,
Texas, South Carolina and Georgia,
according to NOAA's weather prediction
maps.
Heat domes aren't rare, but
this one appears to have produced
the first sizable heat wave of the
summer, Musher said.
Weather and government
officials advised people to stay
cool as the heat dome makes its
way across the country. Even President
Barack Obama tweeted,
"This map says it all. Stay safe as it
heats up: Drink water, stay out of
the sun and check on
your neighbors."
The White House
issued a statement asking
people to be
watchful of heat exhaustion
symptoms,
including heavy sweating;
skin that is cold
and pale; nausea; or
vomiting. Likewise,
heat stroke symptoms
include high body temperature;
skin that is
red, hot and dry; or
even unconsciousness,
according to the government.
Moreover, it's important
to check on infants,
young children
and the elderly, who
are less efficient at regulating
internal body
temperature than
adults are, the statement said. But
even adults should take care to
wear light-colored and loose-fitting
clothing, refrain from strenuous exercise,
and drink plenty of water,
the National Weather Service recommended.
Science Live

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