Photo: DuPage Weather Lab
The heat dome that’s been baking most of the country this week is now clamped firmly over the eastern U.S.The “dome” is actually a large high pressure a system with hot temperatures pushing down on especially moist air, close to the ground.
Eli Jacks of the National Weather Service (NWS), tells the Associated Press that when combined with cloudless skies, and the sun’s higher summertime angle, the effect is what we’ve seen this week.
It’s the combined effect of the tilt of the earth toward the sun and the lack of rain that forces the ground air to sink, compress, and heat up to what we see now.
Temperatures have been in the 90s and 100s throughout the lower 48 states with the heat index making that feel like it’s up to 110 to 120 degrees.
This isn’t as big a deal in the southern parts of the country. People in Texas and Arizona are used to high temperatures, people in Minnesota less so and often have no air conditioning or experience with taking precautions.
And the northern states are suffering right along with everyone else as the heat dome also nudges the jet stream’s dry, cool air, farther north and into Canada.
All this while the hot, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico swirls around the dome travelling farther from the sea than it otherwise would.
At the perimeter of the dome lies the “ring of fire” where thunderstorms will flare up and bring temporary relief, but Kevin Birk of the NWS says this dome is so large that the heat is rebuilding very quickly.
Lasting up to 10 days in some areas, the size and duration of this heat dome is uncommon and already 22 people have died.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.