Heat, heat stress, and drought has returned to Deep South Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley once again. Persistent High Pressure through the depth of the atmosphere will ensure no rainfall through the weekend of June 13th and 14th, and there is some indication that rain may not fall right through the second to last full week of June. Temperatures will continue to run at least 5°F above average. These temperatures, coming less than a month after the end of the most recent heat wave, will make for continuing discomfort for those outside or with little ability to keep cool, even in a region where hot, humid conditions are a fact of everyday life between June and September. Breezy to locally windy conditions, unusual for this time of year, will continue through the 15th and perhaps well beyond. The combination of hot temperatures, maximum sun angle, and the winds will rapidly reintensify the drought.
The combination of heat and humidity will make it feel more like 105°F to 110°F each afternoon across most of the area. Evenings will provide little relief as the apparent temperature will remain above 90 until after midnight for most areas. Similar to the early May event, the potential for heat health related incidents remains high. Persons expected to spend any length of time outdoors for the next week are urged to follow these safety tips:
For much more information, go to the National Weather Service's Heat Safety web page.
- Slow Down. Schedule strenuous activities early in the morning, if at all.
- Drink Plenty of Water. For healthy persons, be sure to drink water at all times, even if you are not thirsty. Persons on fluid restricting diets should consult their physicians before increasing consumption.
- Dress for Summer. Lightweight, light colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps maintain a lower body temperature.
- Do not Drink Alcohol. Alcoholic beverages increase dehydration rate and could bring on heat stress or heat stroke rapidly.
- Spend time in Air Conditioning. Cooler locations offer relief and some protection from heat dangers.
- Avoid Sunburns. Sunburn makes heat dissipation from the body more difficult. As the summer solstice approaches, the angle of the sun reaches its peak, increasing the threat for sunburn in a short period of time.
- Leave Children Unattended in Vehicles. Not even for a minute! Temperatures rise rapidly inside a car, nearly 30°F in as little as 20 minutes. Click here for more information on children and hyperthermia.
According to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, the current drought has rivaled the Drought of 2006 in lost percentages of cotton, corn, and grain sorghum. Much of the damage was brought forth during the late April and May heatwave, when the combination of gusty winds, heat, strong sun, and low to moderate humidity accelerated the pace of the short term drought. While rain and severe storms put a notable dent in the drought, the return of hot, rain free, sunny weather will likely bring back extreme to exceptional drought conditions to most of the region during the latter half of June.
Moderate waves, seas, and swell will continue through the weekend and into the week of June 15th. The persistent southeast flow will help reduce the threat for dangerous, fast moving rip currents near the jetties of Isla Blanca Park. However, that same swell will maintain a healthy longshore current – the current that moves swimmers parallel to the beach from south to north. This current can become dangerous for inexperienced swimmers when strong undertow gradually pulls one away from the shoreline. More dangerous is the fact that water levels between sandbars rise farther up the beach, at public access points north of the Town of South Padre Island limits. As more people try to beat the heat by hitting the beach, it is imperative that inexperienced swimmers remain supervised at all times, and stay in shallow water knee deep or less. Alcohol, swimming, and dangerous currents are a deadly mix.
Dry air settling underneath the strong high pressure ridge may reduce humidity a bit each afternoon. While this will reduce the apparent temperature somewhat, the lower humidity could drop toward critical values of 25 percent or less. If accompanied by occasional winds of 20 mph or higher, the threat for rapid wild fire growth will become serious as range and grassland becomes critically dry once again. Burn bans remain in effect for most counties in Deep South Texas and all of the Rio Grande Valley. Continue to monitor this web site for updates on fire weather conditions through the week, including Fire Danger statements and possible Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings.