Hottest day records happen twice as often as coldest day ones in U.S.
If it feels like this Florida heat wave has been around forever, it hasn’t been that long.
But the extreme weather is one for the record books.
With South Florida temperatures in the mid-90s since Friday, the month is on track to finish as the third hottest June. With seven days — including Wednesday — in the mid- and high 90s, Miami has broken the record for number of days at or above 95 degrees by this point in the year, according to Brian McNoldy, senior research associate at the University of Miami.
And daily records are being set, too. At 98 degrees, Monday’s temperature tied a record set in 1944 — the second highest in history. South Florida has felt record heat since Sunday. And at 95 degrees, Wednesday’s temperature tied the record for June 26 — set back in 1987, according to the National Weather Service.
Several Florida areas have been under heat advisories, including Collier and Palm Beach counties. An advisory is issued when the heat index reaches 108 for two hours.
Miami-Dade, and Broward counties have escaped the designation, but not by much.
So when will it cool down? And why is it this hot in the first place?
The heat comes from what meteorologists call a ridge. High pressure causes the air to warm as it descends. In this case, warm air has traveled north from the tropics into Florida, said National Weather Service meteorologist Shawn Bhatti.
The suburbs tend to be the hottest. Just ask anyone who lives in Kendall, where the heat index will reach 104 on Wednesday. The index is a combination of air temperature and humidity.
Coastal areas get the cooling benefit of breezes off the water. So if you’re in Miami Beach right now, you’re getting a break. It’ll be a mere 100 there.
Miami should expect some relief on Thursday. That’s when forecasters say temperatures will dip into the mid- and high 80s. With thunderstorms expected for Friday and Saturday, cloud cover, wind and wet air will bring the heat index down from the triple digits.
Saharan dust has helped keep Miami hot and dry the past few days as the plume has floated from Africa over to the Gulf Coast. The dust, lofted thousands of feet into the atmosphere, traps heat, Bhatti said. It also stops storms from progressing, shielding Miami from cooling rain.
The dust is only one factor. Winds blowing from the west and southwest, rather than from the east, contribute to the heat, Local 10 meteorologist Luke Dorris said. Western winds are drier than those that come off the Atlantic, and drier air means more heat.
Thursday’s storms should end the streak of mid-90s weather.