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From a sizzling scorcher in the South to severe storms in the east and Mid-Atlantic, a ring of fire weather pattern will bring summer weather hazards to more than 40 million Americans for the first part of this week.

Parts of 13 states were under heat advisories, from Texas, Louisiana and Florida in the South to Missouri and Illinois in the Midwest, the National Weather Service reported.

"It feels like hell is what it feels like," said Junae Brooks, who runs Junae's Grocery in Holly Bluff, Miss.

Many of her customers were wearing straw hats or keeping cool with wet rags around their necks, she said.

Areas that lie beneath a big, sprawling ridge of high pressure will bake, while clockwise winds around the high's edges will slingshot periodic severe thunderstorms around its periphery. For those along the edge, it's a one-two punch -- a setup that begins for some with oppressive heat and humidity, and could end with damaging storms.

In Dallas, the mercury is forecast to soar to 103 degrees today, the hottest temperature there since July of last year. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport hit the century mark on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Its average high for this time of year is about 96 degrees. In Galveston, the heat index remained above 100 degrees for 41 hours late last week.

The residents of Orange, Texas, about 115 miles west of Houston near the Gulf of Mexico, started their workweek on a not-so-pleasant note: The heat index had spiked to 111 degrees before 9 a.m., thanks to an extreme dew point of 83 degrees.

The heat isn't confined to the Gulf Coast, however. Oklahoma City hit 103 degrees on Saturday and 102 on Sunday. Will Rogers World Airport was set to top 100 degrees again on Monday, marking the first three-day string of 100 degree days there since 2017.

It was expected to feel like 116 degrees in parts of eastern Oklahoma, near Tulsa, on Monday, forecasters said.

Most of central, southern and eastern Arkansas was under an excessive heat warning as heat index values reached between 100 and 105 degrees. Heat index values reached as high as 115 degrees in Brinkley and Searcy, said National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Goudsward in North Little Rock.

"The actual temperature has been between 93 to 99 degrees across the state," he said. "The temperatures are normal for this time of year, but it's the humidity that is getting us. We usually have some humidity, but this is a little extreme."

An excessive heat warning is expected today for the majority of central and southeast Arkansas, Goudsward said.

"[Today] looks like it will be a transition period; there will be some cooling in the north, but still pretty hot in the rest of the state," he said. "It will definitely be a little bit better by Thursday."

Cooling centers will be open today in Little Rock at Dunbar Community Center, 1001 W. 16th St.; East Little Rock Community Center, 2500 E. Sixth St.; Southwest Community Center, 6401 Baseline Road; and West Central Community Center, 4521 John Barrow Road.

In Alabama and Tennessee, high school football coaches were adjusting practice schedules Monday and today, with some moving the workouts indoors and others conducting training in the early morning or evening, The Tennessean reported. In northern Alabama, forecasters with the weather service's Huntsville office said Monday that they issued the first excessive heat warning for the area in more than seven years.

Conditions are set to cool significantly in the North, where Boston is expecting a refreshing 76 degrees today, a welcome break coming on the heels of the area's warmest month on record. By Wednesday, an area of dew points in the upper 40s to near 50 degrees will filter south from Canada, bringing a comfortable early taste of fall air.

Where these two vastly different air masses clash, severe storms are in the forecast. Some meteorologists call them "ridge runners," since they are propelled around the edge of the blocking high, such as the one currently parked over the South.

With plentiful heat and moisture to tap into, these storms could pack a punch, especially in the D.C. area today.

The Storm Prediction Center has placed portions of the Mid-Atlantic, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore, under an "enhanced risk" for severe weather today.

A 24-hour rainfall total of 7.21 inches was recorded by a weather observer on the east side of St. Louis on Monday morning, while other amounts topping 4 inches were measured nearby. A flash flood warning was issued for St. Louis early Monday, with more than 3 inches falling in just 90 minutes.

Information for this article was contributed by Matthew Cappucci of The Washington Post; by Jay Reeves and Jeff Martin of The Associated Press; and by Stephen Simpson of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

A Section on 08/13/2019

Print Headline: Excessive heat buffets Arkansas, region

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