The historic heat wave lingering across the Southeast has intensified drought conditions far and wide, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report, released this morning. Stretches of days when triple-digit temperatures were the norm scorched already dry fields and reservoirs.
Here's how the Drought Monitor put it:
An historic heat wave arrived across the Southeast in early August, following relatively cool, favorably showery weather in July. Frequent temperatures near 100 degrees F were noted as far north as the southern Corn Belt, while impressive strings of triple-digit heat were reported farther south. As a result of the intense heat and minimal rainfall, along with severe stress on pastures, livestock, and immature summer crops, all categories of dryness and drought were broadly expanded across the Southeast and the lower Midwest.
For example, two areas of exceptional drought were joined, leaving a continuous swath of D4 stretching from Tennessee through Alabama and western Georgia. Montgomery, Alabama, reached or exceeded the 100-degree mark on at least 10 consecutive days (August 6-15), easily surpassing its record of 7 days established in 1881, 1954, and 1990. Farther west, Evansville, Indiana (100, 102, and 100 degrees F from August 7-9) achieved triple-digit heat for the first time since August 18, 1995. Other locations reporting their first 100-degree reading of the decade included Roanoke, Virginia, Paducah, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio (all three cities reached 100 degrees F on August 8).
Roanoke, Paducah, and Cincinnati all last observed a high of 100 degrees F or greater in 1999. Even the overnight hours provided little heat relief, as locations such as Roanoke (79 degrees F on August 9); Atlanta (82 degrees F on August 8); and Wilmington, North Carolina (83 degrees F on August 9), set all-time records for their highest minimum temperature. However, some of the most impressive heat-related records were the all-time-record highs established across the Southeast. Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina, tied its all-time-record high of 104 degrees F on August 8 and 9, then erased that standard with a high of 105 degrees F on August 10.
Elsewhere in South Carolina, Columbia reached 105 degrees F on August 8, representing its highest reading since July 10, 1990 (also 105 degrees F). Later, however, Columbia attained 106 degrees F on August 9 and 107 degrees F on August 10. Columbia''s August 10 reading tied its all-time high of 107 degrees F, previously achieved on August 21, 1983, June 27, 1954, and July 23, 24, and 29, 1952. Meanwhile, Augusta, Georgia (108 degree F on August 10), also tied its all-time record, previously set on August 21, 1983.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.