Jul 18, 2019 - Science

The "heat dome" is coming

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Get familiar with the concept of a "record-high nighttime low" temperature.

What's happening: This weekend's heat wave threatens to smash records nationwide, a dangerous situation for humans and animals alike.

  • Humidity "levels will make it feel as hot or hotter than the Southwest in parts of the Central and Eastern states,"according to Accuweather.

Why it matters: It can become very dangerous when temperatures don't cool down at night, meteorologists tell the AP. Parts of the East Coast won’t drop below the mid- to upper-70s or even 80s at night.

The big picture: "Hot weather is nothing new, of course," the New York Times reports, "especially in July. But climate change is making heat waves like this one more common."

Between the lines: This could also take a toll on flood-ravaged farms.

  • The "floods of the spring that delayed U.S. planting have meant plants have shallower roots and this is exacerbating the impact of the heat," per Bloomberg.
  • "Normally, it would take four or five days of temperatures in the 90s to stress crops ... [when] the root systems are as shallow as they are this year it only takes a day or two."

The bottom line: This wouldn't be a bad weekend to check up on your neighbors and family, particularly the elderly.

Go deeper: All the global temperature records broken in 2019, so far

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