Weather! A look at the upcoming heat wave

Cue the Kenny Loggins – the heat is going to be on beginning tomorrow. Temperatures will make a run at 100 degrees (and high temperature records) from Friday through Monday.

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Mother nature is going to turn up the blowtorch over the next few days. The temperature records for Friday through Monday are 101, 103, 102, and 100, respectively, and we’re going to have a shot at meeting or beating these records each of the next four days.

This is a graph (the technical term is “meteogram) generated showing the forecast temperatures for the next seven days from several of the predominant computer models. While you do see some disagreement regarding the exact high temperature, the consensus, especially for Saturday, is for temperatures close to or in excess of 100 degrees. But the heat isn’t the only story:

As the platitude goes, “it’s not the heat, but it’s the humidity.” In our case, it’s going to be both. Dewpoint values will climb from the low 50s, where we were yesterday, through the 60s and close to 70 degrees by tomorrow. When temperatures get this warm, looking at the relative humidity percentage can be misleading. A temperature of 100 and a dewpoint of 70 only yields a relative humidity value of 38%. On the surface, that doesn’t seem that terrible. But once dewpoints get above roughly 65 degrees, everything feels humid, regardless of the relative humidity value.

The increased humidity means it’s going to feel even hotter. Heat index values will be near 105, making it very uncomfortable for prolonged periods of physical activity outside. Take it easy, stay cool, and stay hydrated. It’s likely that we’ll see heat advisories posted, especially over the weekend.

There’s only been one period where Richmond had more than three consecutive days of 100+ temperatures, from August 29 to September 2, 1953. We’ve had twelve occurrences of three days of consecutive 100 degree temperatures; the most recent one was July 23-25, 2010.

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Weather Dan

Dan Goff is now a two-time former Richmonder, having departed the River City yet again in favor of southwest Virginia, where he is working on degrees in geography and meteorology at Virginia Tech. Have a question about the weather or weather-related phenomena?

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