Jun 22, 2022 - News

Things continue to heat up in NWA

Illustration of a thermometer shaped like an upwards arrow, with the mercury rising.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Extreme heat currently roasting the Upper Midwest and northern Plains is forecast to shift south and southeastward during the week.

  • Northwest Arkansas temperatures will be in the mid-to-upper 90s through Saturday, Tulsa's National Weather Service meteorologist Brad McGavock told Axios.

Why it matters: Heat waves are an acute public health threat, with high temperatures ranking as the top weather-related killer in the U.S. on average each year, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.

  • For the past two weeks, extreme heat has broken records from the Southwest to the Plains and Midwest, contributing to wildfires.
  • The area of high pressure, or heat dome, responsible for the scorching weather continues to roam the country and shows few signs of dissipating amid a large northward bulge, or ridge, in the jet stream.
  • NWS is calling the high temperatures "excessive" and "well above average" for this time of year.

What's next: The heat dome will slide southward and set up shop over the Tennessee Valley by midweek, bringing a broad area of clear skies and stagnant air to the South and Southeast.

Zoom in: Heat indices — the air temperature plus the dew point temperature —which is how hot it feels, are forecast to be 100-105℉ in NWA on Wednesday and Thursday.

  • Yes, but: There's a slight chance of thunderstorms those days, which could bring a little cloud cover.

Friday and Saturday are expected to be Northwest Arkansas' hottest days for the next week — in the upper 90s — though if dew points fall, the heat may be slightly more tolerable, McGavock said.

  • Some areas in the River Valley region will likely hit 100℉ for the first time this year on Friday or Saturday, KNWA/FOX 24's meteorologist Mike Susko told Axios.

Both McGavock and Susko said the heat is forecast to break around Sunday or Monday, which means temperatures in the 80s.

The bottom line: "In terms of the overall summer pattern, we expect conditions to be above-average for temperatures," Susko told Axios in an email.

  • The overall pattern is expected to slightly favor drier-than-average conditions for Northwest Arkansas, in part because of an ongoing La Niña in the equatorial Pacific, he said.

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