When will the heat end?

When will the heat end?

UPDATE: Well, after a lot of research my friend from the Nation Weather Service in Shreveport Jason Hansford has given me an "official" record that they will be using for the longest stretch of 100 degree plus days for Tyler and Longview. The year was 1998 with Tyler going 20 days and Longview going 21 days at or above 100°F. But remember, these readings were from different locations than we use today. The 21 days for Longview actually occurred 11 miles to the southeast of Longview and not at the airport. The airport only recorded 12 days in a row that year.

So unless we see the triple digit heat linger into the first part of next week, the "official" records appear to be safe. However, since the ASOS (Automated Surface Observing System) has been commissioned in both Tyler and Longview, this stretch of 100°F plus days is the longest.

TYLER,TX (KLTV) - For much of East Texas June was the hottest June on record and July is starting off much the same way. Today marked the 14th straight day that Tyler has hit or surpassed 100°F. This is the second longest stretch of 100°F plus days on record. Today is the 12th straight day of 100°F heat in Longview.  So why has it been so hot?

Well, if you can think back to April when we first started to see the mercury hit the 90°F mark, we began to mention if we do not see a significant amount of rain we were in for a very hot summer. The reason for this is because of how dry our soil is here in East Texas. As the sun shines down on the Earth's surface, much of its energy is used to evaporate soil moisture causing the ground to remain relatively cool. This year we have seen soil moisture extremely low across East Texas. When this happens all of the sun's energy can be used to heat the ground which in turn heats the air. The hotter the soil temperature, the hotter the air will become. For the majority of East Texas the soil moisture is less than 5% of what it normally should be for this time of the year. On Saturday the 10th the soil moisture for much of East Texas was actually less than 1% of what we normally see. (The dark red shading across the southern 2/3rds of East Texas indicate less than 1% of normal soil moisture)

This is not good for the hopes of seeing cooler temperatures anytime soon. Even if we are able to see afternoon and evening thunderstorms develop, the amount of aerial coverage will not be enough to cause an increase in soil moisture to bring temperatures back to a normal level. East Texas' climate this year is becoming more like what you would find across west Texas where dry soil leads to 100°F quite often. The only real hope we have of seeing a significant increase in soil moisture is if a tropical system moves into our area bringing widespread 3 to 5 inches of rain.

Hopefully this will happen. The Atlantic Hurricane seasonal forecast is above normal this year. Of course we do not need a tropical storm or hurricane to cause a significant amount of damage to the area. What we need is a tropical depression to move into the area and stay for a day or two providing widespread heavy rain. This would give us the average amount of soil moisture we usually see giving us average temperatures instead of well above temperatures. If we do not see this we may set all time record high temperatures across East Texas this summer. In Tyler we hit 105°F in June tying the all time record for the month. The all time record high for Tyler is 111°F and for Longview is 113°F. As many tell me, "This is summer in East Texas. It's supposed to be hot!" Well not this hot. But don't worry. We are only 91 days away from our average highs being in the upper 70s, and it can't get here soon enough.