Jun 15, 2022 - News

Nashville's record-breaking heat wave is unrelenting

Illustration of a thermometer shaped like an upwards arrow, with the mercury rising.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Nashville's dangerous heat wave isn't going anywhere.

  • Temperatures are expected to remain near record levels through Friday.
  • Although the mercury is expected to drop slightly over the weekend, the long-term forecast suggests sweltering conditions will return next week.

Why it matters: Weather is getting progressively warmer in Nashville and around the globe. This week is a painful example of the consequences of extreme heat, which comes with health threats like heat stroke and dehydration for vulnerable individuals.

Driving the news: Highs are stuck in the upper 90s, with the heat index expected to reach up to 110°.

  • The high Monday tied the city's all-time record high while Tuesday's high was record-breaking.
  • The Nashville Electric Service is asking customers to avoid overwhelming the power grid by setting their thermostat to 78° and not using the oven.

State of play: National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Rose tells Axios these temperatures are more in line with conditions deep in the summer.

  • "It's just uncommon to see them this early," Rose says. "We're not going to get any appreciable cooldown in the near future."

Zoom out: Nashville's punishing heat is part of a system that is stretching across the nation.

The big picture: Every season in the U.S. is getting warmer, in line with global trends driven by climate change.

  • In Nashville, the average temperature during meteorological summer — which runs June-August — has risen by 2.8° since 1970, per data analyzed by the climate research group Climate Central.
  • During the same time frame, Nashville has seen an increase of 26 summer days per year with temperatures above normal.

💭 Our thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: Studies show that heat waves are becoming more intense, frequent and long-lasting in much of the world, including the U.S., with some so severe they would've been virtually impossible without climate change's influence.

Read more in our Climate Truths Deep Dive series, where we examine the local impact of climate change and how U.S. communities and leaders are responding.

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