Temperatures will be sizzling in about 20 states today, and the humidity will make conditions oppressive. Meanwhile, severe thunderstorms will pop up in some areas, and a tropical storm continues to track through eastern Asia.
Dangerous heat wave rolls on
The Great Plains and Great Lakes states will be baking again under a strong ridge of high pressure. The combination of highs in the mid-90s to just above 100° and very high humidity will result in heat index reading ranging from 105 to 115° in many spots. Areas under the gun are Oklahoma City, Wichita, Topeka, Minneapolis, Des Moines, St. Louis, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Columbus (Ohio), Raleigh, Norfolk and towns in between. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued Excessive Warnings and Heat Advisories across these regions.
It could get just hot enough in some areas to cause rails to buckle under the pressure. It’s a common practice during extreme temperatures for train operators to reduce their speeds in hopes of reducing stress on the tracks. So, some loads may be delayed or miss connecting freight trains.
Another side effect of the heat is possible stress on driver health. In order to avoid heat exhaustion, it’s super important to pack plenty of extra drinking water and limit/eliminate time spent outdoors during breaks. Hot, extremely humid air can also become stagnant and hazy, making it even harder to breathe for drivers with heart or respiratory conditions.
The heat wave will spread into the Northeast and New England on Friday and continue this weekend.
Severe storm threat
Besides the heat, drivers in portions of the Midwest will have to deal with some messy weather at times. There’s a good chance for scattered severe thunderstorms from eastern sections of the Dakotas to Green Bay, Milwaukee and Chicago. These storms could produce very gusty winds, large hail, isolated tornadoes and/or localized flash flooding.
Tropical Storm Danas is heading toward the East China Sea, currently producing sustained winds of 45 mph. It may get a bit stronger over the next few days, with possible landfall in southern South Korea this weekend. Minor, short-term delays of ocean cargo are possible at ports such as Shanghai, China and Busan, South Korea. Several oil refineries also lie in Danas’ potential impact zone, outlined and shaded in blue on the SONAR Critical Events map above.