July 19, 2010

South Set to Cook as Heat Builds this Week

As high pressure builds in most levels of the atmosphere over the South, intense July sunshine and mostly absent thunderstorm activity will cook areas from Texas and Oklahoma to the Carolinas and Virginia this week and beyond.

As the ground dries out, more of the sun's energy will go toward heating the ground and the nearby air.

Highs in the upper 90s to near 100 will become commonplace from Dallas to Little Rock, Shreveport, Jackson, Nashville, Birmingham, Atlanta, Columbia and Charlotte.

The building weather pattern will shut off a great deal of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, by creating a slight northerly flow at the surface in most areas.

The flow, although not strong enough to lower humidity levels, will tend to suppress thunderstorm activity in most places, except Florida and Texas.

In some locations, where thunderstorms do manage to douse early this week, the worst of the heat will hit late in the week and into the weekend.

The summer swelter will even hit home with some of the heat-hardy Southerners.

Be sure to drink plenty of fluids this week, whether working outdoors or not. Get in the air conditioning if you can for a time each day to give your body a break.

On the rim of the heat, from the central Plains to the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic, the heat will be "in and out," allowing for rounds of cooling thunderstorms. However, these areas will also have their moments with highs well into the 90s with high humidity.

By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist at Accuweather.com

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