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Dallas to sweat in 108-degree RealFeel heat

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 7/29/2021 Maura Kelly

Records were broken across the High Plains on Wednesday as above-normal temperatures persisted throughout the region and into the south-central U.S. -- but when will relief from the heat arrive?

Not for a few more days, AccuWeather forecasters say. Instead, the sweltering pattern that's been locked in across the middle of the nation will continue through the weekend for most places.

Afternoon temperatures across cities such as Houston and Lubbock, Texas; Oklahoma City; Wichita, Kansas; and Little Rock, Arkansas; have been about 2-5 degrees above normal, on average, since last weekend.

Dallas hit the 100-degree mark for this first time this year on Sunday then surged into the lower 100s F again on Monday and Tuesday. On average, Dallas typically reaches 100 degrees by the first day of July, and the latest date on which Dallas recorded its first 100-degree reading of the year was on Aug. 23 in 1989.

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The heat will continue in Dallas with the temperature topping out at 100 again on Sunday, AccuWeather forecasters predict, and the AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature could soar as high as 108.

Triple-digit heat will make a run at cities farther north and west, too.

The catalyst behind this heat wave, AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert explained, has been a weather feature high in the atmosphere.


"A large area of high pressure at the upper levels of the atmosphere has been responsible in part for the increased heat across the region this week," said Gilbert.

Airflow around this area of high pressure allowed the heat to spread northward along the High Plains, just east of the Rocky Mountains. Several new record-high temperatures were set across this region on Wednesday afternoon.

Temperatures in Denver climbed above normal earlier this week and continued to trend higher into the middle of the week. By Wednesday, the Mile High City reached 100 degrees, breaking the old daily record of 98 degrees set in 1867.

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Normal high temperatures for the end of August range from around 90 F in Denver and Kansas City to 97 F in Dallas.

"Temperatures a few degrees above normal will likely continue for much of the south-central U.S. into the weekend," said Gilbert, as the area of high pressure is forecast to remain over the region.

Little Rock is expected to climb into the triple digits on Friday and Saturday. Highs across the rest of the region are expected to be in the middle to upper 90s through at least Saturday.

Gilbert warned that the risk for heat-related illnesses will remain elevated throughout the weekend.

"Anyone spending extended periods of time outdoors should try to limit that time to early morning or late afternoons to avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day," she advised.

However, if this is unavoidable, AccuWeather forecasters say it's essential to take breaks in the shade and drink plenty of water to avoid becoming overheated and dehydrated.

By late Saturday and into Sunday, the area of high pressure will begin to break down and shift west into the southwestern U.S., allowing a cold front to sink south over the center of the country.

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"Some places, like Oklahoma City, will begin to encounter relief from the heat as early as Sunday," Gilbert explained. "Locations farther south may have to wait until Monday for cooler conditions."

With the arrival of this cooler air mass, temperatures across the south-central U.S. are forecast to drop a few degrees below normal.

Dallas can return to the low 90s by Monday, while Oklahoma City and Wichita can dip below 90 by early next week.

On Sunday, Denver, where the average high temperature is 91 degrees on the first day of August, may struggle to reach the 80-degree mark.

"Interestingly, despite the recent heat surge, a majority of locations across the south-central U.S. are still running cooler than normal for the month of July," Gilbert said. "As of Thursday, Dallas and Houston are running just over a degree below normal for the month, while Oklahoma City is running just over two degrees below normal."

The temperature for the month is taken using an average of high and low temperatures recorded each day.

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