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First heatwave of the year expected to hit Southern states next week

first-heatwave-of-the-year-expected-to-hit-southern-states-next-week

First heatwave of the year expected to hit Southern states next week

ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Spring may be short-lived in the South, with the first major heat wave of 2024 expected to scorch Southern states from Texas to Florida next week.

After a weather year filled with deep freezes, atmospheric rivers and destructive tornadoes across parts of the U.S., weather forecasts for the upcoming season call for blistering heat waves that could impact Americans across the country.

The long-range weather outlook for May 7 through May 11 shows cities from Houston to Tampa to Atlanta will experience much warmer temperatures than normal.

Numerous daily high-temperature records could be broken by the middle and end of next week across the South and Southeast, with highs in the 90s.

Marking the first spike in temperatures across the Southern region, the National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting heat-risk levels depending on location that range from Level 2, or ‘moderate,’ to Level 4, or ‘extreme,’ the highest level.

Southern Texas is expected to feel the most severe heat threat next week, where the NWS forecasts Level 4 extreme heat to begin on Tuesday and extend through the end of the week.

The NWS notes, “This level of rare extreme heat with little to no overnight relief affects anyone without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration,” adding that impacts may be felt in “most health systems, heat-sensitive industries and infrastructure.”

By Wednesday of next week, Level 2 moderate heat will blanket states from Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and southern Georgia and extend up into the Carolinas and parts of Virginia.

Moderate heat levels “affect most individuals sensitive to heat, especially those without effective cooling systems and/or adequate hydration,” according to the NWS, which notes that impacts also are “possible in some health systems and in heat-sensitive industries.”

Extreme heat may be an increasingly dangerous reality this summer, following 2023 being the hottest year in recorded history, according to last year report from Copernicus, Europe’s climate change service.

Last summer brought unprecedented spans of triple-digit temperatures throughout the Southern U.S., with El Paso, Texas, experiencing a record stretch of 44 consecutive days of temperatures at or over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in June and July.

Phoenix, Arizona, saw a record-shattering stretch of 31 days at 110 degrees or greater, surpassing the previous record of 18 consecutive days.

California’s Death Valley National Park last year saw 17 consecutive days of temperatures over 120 degrees, from July 14 to July 30, according to the National Park Service.

Worldwide, the planet reached its highest average global temperature ever recorded for four days in a row in July.

ABC News’ Julia Jacobo and Melissa Griffin contributed to this report.

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