Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Why We're Boiling, Baking, Burning and Sweltering; Blame It on the Heat Index, Experts Say, and Don't Look to Sea Breezes or Rain for Relief

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Why We're Boiling, Baking, Burning and Sweltering; Blame It on the Heat Index, Experts Say, and Don't Look to Sea Breezes or Rain for Relief

Article excerpt

Byline: JESSIE-LYNNE KERR

Yes, it was hot Friday. No, it won't be much better today.

To those out and about at 2 p.m. Friday, it felt like it was 106 degrees by the time the heat index was factored in. The index is a measure of how hot it seems when the relative humidity is added to the actual air temperature.

While having the daily high temperature in the 90s all but three days so far in July is not any sort of record, it is a little hotter than normal, according to Steve Letro, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office in Jacksonville.

"What makes this a little more noticeable is that in the past decade, we have tended to see heat waves earlier in the season, such as the one in early June of 1998," Letro said.

But at that time, Letro added, while the temperature rose, the dew point was lower, resulting in a heat index that was not so high.

"We are in deep summer now," Letro said, "and it is the humidity when combined with the temperature readings that makes it feel so hot."

Adding to the discomfort level is the fact that the same weather pattern that is allowing the temperature to rise will often pin the sea breeze right along the coast so that it does not get inland, he added. "So we don't get the sea breeze until much later in the day, if at all."

Jacksonville's hottest readings are usually seen from mid- to late-July, Letro said.

Tim Deegan, chief meteorologist for WTLV TV-12/WJXX TV-25, The Florida Times-Union's news partner, said Northeast Florida could be in for the hottest weather so far this summer.

Although there is a chance for a brief cooling thunderstorm or two this weekend, he calls for highs in the mid-90s through Tuesday, rising into the high 90s for the last half of the week.

The heat indices are likely to be mostly from 102 to 105 degrees, Deegan said.

jessie-lynne.kerr@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4374

HITTING HOME

HOT STREAK

The longest July heat wave in Northeast Florida in recent times happened in 1981, when the temperature hit 102 or higher four days in a row. …

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