Potentially dangerous triple-digit heat is baking the southern Plains and Texas, with the excessive heat and humidity expected to linger across the region through at least the first part of the weekend.
Millions of people across the Lone Star State are being urged to take proper precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses such as heatstroke and heat exhaustion as high temperatures soar above 100 degrees from Houston to Brownsville. Meanwhile, as dew points reach the mid-upper 70s, the “feels-like” temperatures will reach close to 120 degrees in some parts of South Texas as the workweek continues.
Cooling centers have opened across Harris County, Texas – home to Houston – and the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued a Weather Watch that went into effect on Thursday due to the forecasted heat.
“ERCOT has issued its first Weather Watch to let Texans know that we are forecasting increased demand due to the higher temperatures expected this week and into next week,” ERCOT President and CEO Pablo Vegas said in a statement. “Grid conditions are normal when we issue a Weather Watch. ERCOT continues to monitor conditions closely and will deploy all available tools to manage the grid and will continue our reliability-first approach to operations, always prioritizing grid reliability.”
And it’s expected to be a very busy time for the power grid.
ERCOT said its 6-day Supply and Demand dashboard is showing the possibility of a new, all-time peak demand record this week. ERCOT says there is currently enough capacity to meet the forecasted power demand.
Last year, ERCOT says it set 11 new peak demand records, surpassing 80 GWs for the first time ever.
ERCOT says the current record of 80,148 MWs was set on July 20, 2022.
Heat Alerts posted across Texas
Heat Advisories are in effect for millions of Texans from the Waco area south through Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and South Padre Island, but Excessive Heat Warnings and Excessive Heat Watches have also been issued due to the heightened risk of developing heat-related illnesses from extreme temperatures and high humidity that will make it feel even hotter.
Officials are urging residents to drink plenty of fluids, remain indoors in an air-conditioned room, if possible, and limit time spent outdoors. It’s also recommended to wear loose-fitting clothing and take plenty of breaks.
How hot will it get in Texas on Thursday?
Cities across Texas are expected to approach and exceed 100 degrees during the day on Thursday.
And to make matters worse, with the high humidity, the feels-like temperature in major cities such as Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Laredo will be between 110-115 degrees.
It will feel even hotter in Laredo and Corpus Christi where the feels-li;ke temperature could hit 117 degrees.
Records are also in jeopardy Thursday. Del Rio, Texas, could break its record of 104 degrees. Austin has a shot at breaking its old record of 104 degrees, and Houston’s old record of 100 degrees for this date in 2011 could be broken.
How hot will it get in Texas on Friday?
Friday will be the third day of potentially dangerous and deadly heat across Texas, with excessive heat also expanding into areas of the Southeast and along the Gulf Coast.
In Texas, temperatures are expected to be warmer than 100 degrees in cities such as Midland, Austin, San Antonio and Laredo. The feels-like temperature could hit 118 degrees in Corpus Christi, while Laredo could feel like it’s 116.
Houston will also be feeling the heat with a feels-like temperature of 112 degrees.
Temperatures in Louisiana will reach the mid- to upper 90s, with Shreveport and New Orleans experiencing feels-like temperatures higher than 100 degrees.
How hot will it get in Texas on Saturday?
The triple-digit temperatures are expected to last into the weekend, with most of the major cities in the Lone Star State again seeing high temperatures at or around 100 degrees.
Houston will feel like it’s 112 degrees, while Austin and San Antonio feeling like it’s 110 degrees.
Record high temperatures from Houston to Corpus Christi and Brownsville could all be broken on Saturday.
Heat could potentially turn deadly in Texas
When the combination of hot temperatures and high humidity is expected to result in dangerous conditions that can cause heat-related illnesses, the National Weather Service issues various alerts to get the word out to the public.
When an Excessive Heat Warning or a Heat Advisory is issued, it’s essential to take common-sense action, such as staying hydrated and avoiding extended periods outdoors.
It’s also crucial you avoid leaving any people or pets in cars that become instant ovens when the air conditioning is turned off.
Serious injuries and even death can occur for people and animals inside a car on a hot day.
Always “look before you lock” to ensure you have not left any children or pets inside a car. Temperatures inside a locked vehicle with the windows rolled up can be deadly.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said if you see a child alone in a car, don’t worry about getting involved in someone else’s business – protecting children is everyone’s business. Good Samaritan laws also offer legal protection for those who offer assistance in an emergency.
“Any time you see a child alone in a vehicle, you should immediately call 911,” Kids and Car Safety Director Amber Rollins said. “You don’t know how long that child has been there or how long they’re going to be left.”
This is important, especially in the heat, when literally minutes can be the difference between life and death or severe brain damage for a young child.