A SCORCHING Fourth of July heatwave is set to create ring of fire thunderstorms across the country this holiday weekend, experts say.
“The first half of July looks to have well-above-normal temperatures, at pretty high probabilities, beginning around the Fourth of July or slightly before,” Jon Gottschalck, chief of the Operational Prediction Branch at the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, told NBC News.
He acknowledged that some areas are already coping with the heat onslaught as Miami recently had its hottest week on record, experiencing a heat index over 103 degrees for 11 days in a row.
Gottschalck predicted heat advisories and excessive heat watches in many areas, with little relief from the humidity at night during this “ring of fire” weather pattern.
On Friday, The National Weather service warned of severe thunderstorms tonight in Montana and the western Dakotas, while excessive rainfall could cause flash flooding over northern New Jersey, southern New York and western Connecticut.
Gottschalck said this incredible heat is pushed on by a northward shift of the jet stream.
The weather expert said this made a “ridging effect,” a pocket of intense pressure that allows for warm, dry conditions.
This ring-of-fire effect involves storms riding the outer limits of this heat dome, prompting violent thunderstorms across the northern Plains – and the heat dome could continue through July.
“Our models indicate that this is going to be somewhat persistent through the first two weeks of July, and potentially longer,” Gottschalck said.
The Climate Prediction Center, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and local agencies have been working together on the heat wave threat.
But some hard-hit cities may not be able to give vulnerable community members relief because of the social distancing guidelines in place.
“We’re dealing with such a unique situation, where even if some areas can open up cooling centers and things like that, they’re likely to have limited capacity,” said Julie Caron, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
“So now, you could have a vulnerable population that has to make a choice to either stay home and risk the heat or go to a cooling center and risk exposure to the virus,” the Boulder-based Colorado expert said.
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Regardless of the deadly bug sweeping the nation, the rising temperatures are concerning when it comes to the threat of global warming.
“We’re also seeing an increasing rate of change that’s notable since 2015,” Caron said. “We’re getting hotter and more frequent heat waves on top of each other.”
This increasingly abnormal hot weather come to a head in the summer – especially in July, when the soaring temperatures in the US can be unbearable for some.
The National Weather Service warned that thunderstorms were on the way[/caption]