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Rising toward 100 degrees
Heat wave hits Valley; temperature may top century mark Tuesday

By Ronnie Thomas · 340-2438

Think it’s hot now?

Just wait until Tuesday, said Kurt Weber, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, when he predicts the thermometer to reach 100.

“Actually, from Tuesday to Thursday, the Decatur area should experience the highest temperatures this week, but it’s going to be hard pressed to go much above 100,” he said. “We’ll see quite a few spots Tuesday and Wednesday reach 100 and maybe some spots in the area on Thursday.”

Weber said while a few isolated areas might exceed that, he said as a rule the temperatures will remain at the century mark.

“A strong upper-level high pressure system that can lead to some periods of excessive heat started building the last week,” he said.

“And this is what we have coming up.”

Weber said that typically towards the middle to the end of July, an upper level ridge extends farther east into northern Alabama and Tennessee.

“More times than not, we had a trough pattern where weak boundaries moved southeast from the Ohio Valley and the northeast area to keep us a little cooler,” he said. “This year, that high has remained farther to the west and because of that, we’ve had more weak cool fronts come down and keep it drier.

“Now, into the first few days of August, the high pressure system has strengthened and built farther east over the Tennessee Valley. That is what is giving us the higher temperature. This high pressure will continue to develop eastward and strengthen this week.”

By Friday night into Sunday, the area should get some relief, Weber said, when the ridge will start to break down and temperatures will settle into the mid-90s.

“The models have been trending this way during the past 24 hours or so,” he said. “We may have some isolated mainly afternoon and evening thundershowers popping back in Saturday.”

He expects thunderstorms and showers throughout the day Sunday, with temperatures in the lower 90s.

To avoid problems from the heat, he suggests limiting the amount of time outdoors after 1 p.m., and to stay well hydrated by drinking lots of liquids.

“You need to really pay attention to what your body says,” he said. “And if you know of elderly neighbors close by, keep an eye on them.”

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