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This week's hot streak is the longest since last September

Between Monday and Thursday, high temperatures are forecast to be higher than 88°.  The last four day stretch of that kind of heat was in late September of 2016.  Rare? No.  Record breaking?  Not by any means.  BUT, it's still been a while. 

In fact, we've only hit 90° twice in the Tri-Cities this year.  Meanwhile, last year - we hit that mark a record number of times. 

So, why is it getting so hot now?  Well, it's summer and we expect this.  But to explain why we're forecasting this heat, we have to look high up in the atmosphere.

In meteorology, we often look at different pressure levels.  The pressure decreases with altitude, and so we look to see "Where is the 850, 700, and 500 mb level?"  The higher these levels are, the warmer the air is.  The lower these levels are, the colder the air will be.  That's why you'll often hear about air at the poles being very 'shallow.'

In a case like this week, the 500 mb pressure level will be very high (more than 588 decameters).  That's being driven by high pressure systems off the east coast and in the Desert Southwest.

This is also helping to keep a cold front over the upper Midwest.  So, it's leaving storms out of the forecast until about Thursday.  By Friday, that front gets closer and delivers our best chance of showers and storms.  

Make no mistake.  It'll be getting hot, but also progressively more humid through the week.  By Wednesday and Thursday, the air temperature may feel like the mid 90s.  Be sure to stay hydrated, and seek shade at times this coming week.

Another good reminder is to protect your feet and your pets' paws!  Darker surfaces, like concrete and asphalt, absorb heat.  So, those surfaces become hotter and can easily burn you. 

The purpose of this blog post is not to blow things out of proportion.  Of course, it's July and we expect near 90° heat.  BUT, we also haven't seen it that much this year.  So, I figured now was as appropriate a time as ever to bring these things up.  

Stay cool, stay hydrated, and have a wonderful week!


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