Much of Central Texas is under an excessive heat warning until 9 p.m. Tuesday from the NWS, which calls for caution from the region’s residents.
Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, keep out of the sun, and check on relatives and neighbors, reads the warning. “Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances,” it continues.
The Central Texas summer is unquestionably hot every year, but 2023 has been particularly scorching due to a “heat dome,” according to LCRA meteorologist Bob Rose.
“The biggest item of concern continues to be the position of the heat dome and its center,” he said in an LCRA weather report on July 31. “Forecasts call for the dome center to settle over central and northeastern Texas late this week.”
The heat dome to which Rose is referring is a complex weather pattern that emerges when hot air is trapped by pressure differences in the surrounding atmosphere, creating a bubble of heat that remains until the pressure lets up or the dome moves on. Central Texas has been in a heat dome since the beginning of July.
“Preliminary data indicates July 2023 will end up being one of the hottest, if not the hottest, July on record across the majority of the area,” Rose said.
Depending on the exact location, this July has been the hottest on record for some Central Texas locales, such as Austin, where it beats out July 2022.
Average July high temperatures sit at 96.6 degrees in the region and average lows at 75 degrees, making for an overall monthly temperature average of 85.8 degrees. The average temperature for July 2023 came out to 90.52 degrees in Marble Falls.
“Everyone is so ready for a break from the heat and dry weather,” Rose continued in his report. “Unfortunately, next week is showing little to no change in the weather pattern. Looking out further in the week of August 14th, extended range forecasts are unfortunately showing few changes in the very hot and dry pattern.”
The hot, dry weather has already taken a toll on the Highland Lakes. The Moore Peak Fire swept across 700 acres of Llano County in mid-July. Lake Buchanan has been reduced to an eight-year low. Burnet, Granite Shoals, and Marble Falls have initiated varying degrees of their respective drought contingency plans. And this reporter’s electric bill has risen over 50 percent since June.
While it’s hot and getting hotter, there will be an end to the searing summer. A wetter climate pattern, El Nino, is expected to bring ample amounts of rain as fall approaches and potentially an end to the current drought.