June is already off to a toasty start for much of the south-central United States following an abnormally warm May for the region. AccuWeather forecasters say Mother Nature is set to dial up the thermostat and send parts of the region to sweltering levels early next week, which will put several daily temperature records in jeopardy.
Beginning Sunday, a northward shift in the jet stream will allow unseasonably hot air to push out of Mexico and seep across portions of the South Central states as well as the Four Corners region. Areas from New Mexico and Texas north into portions of Colorado and Kansas will all encounter temperatures on the rise by Sunday.
While many areas will watch the mercury rise above normal on Sunday, forecasters say the most intense portion of this hot air will settle over a large swath of Texas. This unseasonable heat will remain in place through much of the early week, with temperatures in many places set to hit triple-digit readings.
Temperatures will be more typical of the height of summer, rather than early summer, through early next week, according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Paul Walker.
Cities like Abilene, San Antonio and Austin, Texas, typically record high temperatures around 90 F in early June but are all forecast to climb above 100 F Sunday through Tuesday. Daily high-temperature records will be in jeopardy for three days in a row for both Austin and San Antonio.
By Monday, AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will soar to 106 F for places like Abilene. For some cities in southern Texas that sit along the border with Mexico, temperatures will soar even higher.
Laredo, Texas, located about 150 miles southwest of San Antonio, is forecast to hit 105 F on Monday, which will only slightly miss the daily record high from 2018 of 108 F. AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures may climb slightly above the air temperature during the hottest part of the afternoon.
As the heat wave builds across portions of Texas and southeastern New Mexico early next week, so too will risks for heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Forecasters say residents in the affected areas should take care to remain well-hydrated and limit time outdoors during the hottest part of the day if possible.
While Texans are not strangers to the heat, prolonged bouts of abnormal warmth can become hazardous, especially to vulnerable populations. Children, the elderly, outdoor workers and those without access to air conditioning are typically at the highest risk when temperatures soar.
In addition to hotter daytime conditions, the nighttime cooldowns early next week will be limited in impact.
Daytime heat, when combined with overnight low temperatures only in the lower 70s, will create an increased energy demand for the region, according to Walker.
“The energy grid could be under stress with air conditioners and fans running consistently to try to keep people comfortable,” Walker said.
The significant dryness in place across much of western and central Texas will allow the heat to become more intense across the region.
“Much of this region remains under extreme drought or worse, which means the soil is exceptionally dry, and there will be little moisture to evaporate out of the ground during the afternoons,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson explained. “This allows even more of the sun’s energy to go directly to heating the surface, which further enhances the amount of heating.”
Nearly 80 percent of Texas is experiencing at least moderate drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor. A remarkable 18 percent of the state is currently in the midst of exceptional drought, which is the highest drought category possible.
While the hottest conditions are likely to center over western and central Texas, other portions of the larger region will still experience at least a slight uptick in heat.
“Areas farther to the east, such as Dallas, will not be quite as hot as western areas due to higher humidity levels and more moisture in the ground,” Anderson said. “Even though it will be ‘cooler,’ the combination of higher humidity and light winds will make it feel hotter than the actual air temperature with AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures likely getting above 100 degrees, especially by Monday and Tuesday.”
Forecasters say some slight heat relief may be on the horizon by the middle of next week.
“Thunderstorms may finally break the heat around Wednesday, especially in northern Texas and Oklahoma,” Anderson added.
This upcoming heat is just the next in a series of very hot days experienced by portions of the south-central United States since the beginning of May. Nearly every climate station in Texas recorded an abnormally warm May. The average temperature for many cities climbed somewhere between 2 and 4 degrees above normal for the entire month.
In Abilene, the month of May ended a staggering 6.9 degrees above normal after daily high temperatures hit the triple-digit mark 14 times in total. Both Dallas and Houston ended May 3.8 degrees above normal for the month.