Hot here, even hotter in Kansas and Kuwait

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Last week felt like what late July usually feels like around here: hot and muggy.

And, as predicted by forecasters, a dome of high pressure in the upper atmosphere made the heat to our north even worse. This past Friday and Saturday in Wichita, Kansas the afternoon high was 105 degrees.

You might think that if a place has cold winters, it might get a reprieve from hot summers. But, locations in the middle of continents far from the moderating influence of ocean waters get to experience especially cold winters and hot summers.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The state of Kansas, and for the matter all of the states in the Central Plains, are prime examples of such wide temperature ranges. For example, back on January 10th this year the morning low in Wichita was 7 degrees. It warmed up to a less-than-toasty 28 degrees at Wichita’s Eisenhower International Airport that day.

However, in the event that folks in Wichita, or for that matter, here in Picayune, begin to complain about the recent heat, we should all contemplate the fact that others have it even hotter. Particularly noteworthy last week was the record high temperature set in Kuwait.

Dr. Jeff Masters, founder of the Weather Underground website, reported that the mercury hit an amazing 129 degrees in Mitribah, Kuwait. Not only was this a record for that location in Kuwait, it may well be one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded.

Thankfully, our temperatures this week will be a lot cooler than Kuwait. In fact, the highs are likely to be a smidgen cooler than last week, only reaching the upper 80s or 90 today and tomorrow because of plenty of clouds and numerous showers. Our higher than normal rain chances over the next few days are due to a trough of low pressure in the upper atmosphere moving westward across the Gulf combined with a surge of tropical moisture extending from the surface high into the atmosphere.

Beginning Thursday, a little drier air a mile and higher in the atmosphere should result in a gradual, slight decrease in the clouds and number of afternoon showers to more typical summertime levels. This will likely mean a return to lower and middle 90s for highs by Friday and Saturday.

As for our overnight lows, very little change from night to night is the norm during these dog days of summer. Our minimum temperatures this time of year are mainly regulated by the amount of water vapor in the air: the more humid, the warmer the overnight low temperatures. The National Weather Service expects our lows to vary between 73 and 76 degrees every night over the next week.

Meanwhile, as is also typical for July, the tropical Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico remain quiet. However, it appears that as we move into the heart of the tropical season in August and September, tropical systems that form will likely have plenty of low level fuel. Meteorologists are pointing out that sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are some of the warmest observed going back to the 1980s when maps of SSTs across the world’s oceans began to be routinely estimated using data from infrared sensors on satellites.

By Skip Rigney