Aug 23, 2023 - Climate

Des Moines could see record-breaking heat Wednesday

A heat map showing the heat dome over mid region

Forecast high temperatures for Wednesday from the National Weather Service. Image: Pivotal Weather

It's so hot in Des Moines that even Black Cat Ice Cream is closed for the next several days.

Why it matters: Des Moines could reach record-level heat today with an expected high of 99° and heat index of 111°, according to the National Weather Service.

  • The current record for Aug. 23 is 99°, set in 1975.
  • But the humidity is so high today that it will certainly feel hotter than it did back then, Donavon says.

What's happening: A heat dome stretching over 22 states — including all of Iowa — is placing 126 million people under heat warnings, writes Axios' Jacob Knutson, Andrew Freedman and Rebecca Falconer.

  • The high-pressure dome causes humid conditions and low winds that are difficult to escape from, including at night.
  • The strength of the current dome may rival one that occurred during the infamous Dust Bowl in August 1936.

The big picture: Climate change is causing heat waves to be more intense, longer-lasting and more frequent. A report earlier this month found it was a major factor in 80% of humanity experiencing unusually hot temperatures last month.

What's next: An excessive heat warning remains over the state until 8pm Thursday.


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