How did the heat dome start?
It really began as a drought now in its third year covering much of Texas and Oklahoma. The intense May and June sunshine was reflected back into the air by the parched soil and the heat built day after day.
Temperatures stayed above 100 for weeks across parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. At the same time of the unrelenting drought in the Southern plains, the northern plains from North Dakota to Minnesota and into Iowa was suffering under some record flooding.
The flood crest of the Mississippi and Missouri took weeks to move downstream and record rains saturated the soil.
Then by early July the southern heat began to expand into the saturated north. Usually humid air moves north from the gulf of Mexico but this year with the extremes of drought, heat and floods it was the soggy humid soil across thousands of square miles that added millions of tons of moisture to the expanding hot dome creating an unprecedented massive dome of heat and humidity that made Minneapolis feel like Calcutta.
This week the heat has engulfed half of the country with records spreading from Texas to Vermont and heat warnings today from Kansas to Maine to North Carolina and of we are right in the middle. But there is some relief in sight