What Is a Heat Dome and What Is It Doing Over Texas?
Texas... home of the heat dome. Well, not just Texas anymore. The "heat dome" is now set to expand beyond Texas, but more on that in a minute.
A heat dome is a newer term. It's not one that's been used much before, because according to some experts, it simply does not happen without climate change.
A heat dome is a dome-shaped high-pressure system that traps and intensifies heat in a particular region. It occurs when the atmosphere has a strong high-pressure system, causing the air to sink and compress. As the air sinks, it becomes warmer and drier, creating a stable layer of hot air near the surface.
According to the NOAA, this heat dome (and high-pressure system) occurred when the atmosphere ‘trapped hot pacific ocean air like a lid or cap’.
In contrast to low-pressure systems, which are associated with unsettled weather and storm formation, high-pressure systems generally bring about more stable and calmer conditions.
So... it's a calm, stable, dome of heat. Literally just like an oven.
According to the National Weather Service, over 45 million people are about to roast. It's not just the entire state of Texas now, weather experts predict that the scorching hot weather will keep on sizzling in Texas throughout most of this week, making its way up to the Plains and spreading out towards the Southeast.
This heat wave inside the heat dome has toppled temperatures in Texas to over 115 degrees in some parts - absolutely shattering previous records.
The hottest day in El Paso was on June 30, 1994 when it hit 114 degrees.