Climatologist explains East Texas’ current heat wave

East Texas News at 6.
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 4:04 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2022 at 7:53 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Much of East Texas is facing drought conditions and 100-plus degree temperatures, conditions that remind us of another summer. 2011.

July, and 100-degree temperatures, with no foreseeable relief in sight.

“We’ve had a very hot and dry June, where Tyler hit 100 degrees 10 days in the month of June,” says Charlie Woodrum, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Shreveport.

The ground figures into temperatures.

“We get the super-hot summertime temperatures when the ground dries out, ands it’s dried out early,” says Texas A&M climatologist Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon.

The conditions remind some of the summer of 2011, the summer Texas was on fire.

“We could well see something that probably doesn’t top that, but could well rank number 2 all time in terms of Texas heat,” Nielsen-Gammon says.

“Every year we prepare, this year we prepare a little sooner. August, September is when we have a lot of fires. I’m concerned to see what August looks like,” said Gregg county fire marshal Mark Moore.

There is some evidence that weather patterns repeat themselves in cycles.

“El Nino and La Nina, which is a big weather driver for us. La Nina tends to produce dryer conditions in the winter time and that can then lead to hot conditions in the summer if the ground dries out early. Which is exactly what we’ve seen this year,” Dr. John says.

“More than anything else, the heat is a killer and it’s something we have to think about every day,” Woodrum says.

“2011 was so bad you really don’t want to come close to it again,” says Nielsen-Gammon.

According to the National Weather Service, heat kills more people than any other type of severe weather in the United States.

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