In parts of the Plains, and as far east as Alabama, a heat wave is taking shape. Sunday and Monday some stunning high temperature records were set: among them, 113º in two locations in western Kansas, 110º in Russell, Kansas and La Junta, Colorado, and 109º at Goodland, Kansas to name just a few of the more notable ones. Colorado Springs, which is 6,000 feet in elevation and rarely ever sees triple digits, hit 100º both Saturday and Sunday, and Denver tied its all-time hottest temperature ever with 105º on Monday. Closer to home, Huntsville, Alabama hit 102º on Monday and Tuscaloosa topped out at 103º.
One of the stranger obervations I noticed on Monday came from Lamar in eastern Colorado where they reported an air temperature of 108º and a relative humidity of 3%! That's like being in the middle of the Mojave Desert.
So how long will it be before some of that heat reaches Columbus? For now, we've been lucky, because the circulation around Tropical Storm Debby has kept the heat wave at bay - for now. Easterly winds around the storm have kept relatively mild but humid air flowing in from the Atlantic Ocean. Although we'll probably be in the 90s today and Wednesday, temperatures will climb starting Thursday, and by Friday or Saturday we could see 100º here, too.
This heat wave could be prolonged, and to make matters worse, today will be the 14th straight day in Columbus with no measurable rain. The upper ridge responsible for the heat wave will suppress all convective activity (i.e. thunderstorms), so there's no hope for rain anytime soon, other than the fact that we will soon be moving into July which is on average our second wettest month. But in a normal July we usually see an upper ridge weaken enough to allow scattered daily thunderstorms, so there is some hope for a return to normal at some point. It probably won't be for another week.
6-10 Day temp/precip outlooks (July 1-5)
As attention turns away from Debby and the flooding in Florida, this heat wave will be a headline-maker well into next week.
Kurt Schmitz, Senior Meteorologist