It has already been an exceptionally warm few months for the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with July set to hit the hottest temperatures of the year thus far.
The highs this week will cross over the 100 degree mark and get even warmer heading into the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Friday and Saturday are expected to hit highs of 104 and 105 degrees, respectively.
May broke a 26-year record for the amount of days over 90 degrees and tied for the fifth warmest on record, scoring a 77.9 degree average temperature for the month. June didn’t fare much better, with the National Weather Service saying it will go on record as one of the hottest in North Texas history.
The first 100 degree day of the year occurred on June 11, as a high of 103 hit North Texas. In total, June saw nine days over 100 degrees.
July is already off to a warm start after a couple days over 100 degrees over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
When it comes to the warmest summers on record in North Texas, two notoriously hot years — 1980 and 2011 — are at the top of the heap. How does 2022 compare to those years? Here’s what we know:
1980 HEAT WAVE
There were 69 days in 1980 where the temperature was at or above 100 degrees — 42 of those days consecutively.
Only 2011 had a total of more 100 degree days than 1980. But 1980 set the record for most consecutive days with triple digits, from June 23 to Aug. 3.
The first 100-degree day for that year was June 7. The highest temperature that summer was 113 on June 26 and 27.
June 1980 had a total of 13 days over 100 degrees, and August had 21 days, with the highest temperature soaring to 105. September saw the last of the triple digits with four days of 100-degree highs.
July, however, set the record for the greatest number of days at 100 degrees as the entire 31-day month was over triple digits. Over 40 years later, the July record still stands as the greatest number of 100-degrees days in a month.
2011 HEAT WAVE
There were 71 days in 2011 at or above 100 degrees, a record that hasn’t come close to being topped since then.
Of those 71 days, 40 were consecutive from July 2 to Aug. 10, the second most since 1980. Another stretch in 2011 of 20 days from Aug. 15 to Sept. 3, is sixth on the highest consecutive list for North Texas.
The highest temperature was 110 on Aug. 2, and the lowest was 76 on July 2. The first 100-degree day of the year was June 13, and last was Sept. 29.
June had a total of seven days at 100 degrees. July 2011 had the second highest number of 100-degree days with 30, one shy of the record-setting 1980. August 2011 ranks third with 28 days of triple digits.
How do those years compare to 2022?
There have been 11 days over or at 100 degrees as of Tuesday, but a heat wave is on the horizon.
Comparable to the previous benchmark years, 2022 is somewhere in the middle. June 2022 had nine days over 100 degrees, which is more than 2011’s eight days, but still behind 1980’s 13 days over triple digits.
The first 100 degree day of 2022 was June 11, which was earlier than 1980’s June 13 date, but later than the first triple digit day in 2011 on June 7.
For July, its still too early to tell for 2022 how the rest of the month will shake out. However, the beginning of July has been cooler than that of 1980 and 2011.
In 1980, all of July was at 100 degrees and in 2011, only one day didn’t cross the triple digit threshold. July 2022 has had two days below 100 degrees thus far, but again, it’s still early.
Heat safety tips
2022 has already surpassed the amount of 100 degree days in 2021 (8 total), which is contributing to an uptick in heat related responses from MedStar.
From May 1 to July 4, 2022, there were 369 heat related responses, a 206.1% change from the same stretch in 2021. Last year’s numbers were:
Serious condition: 43
Critical condition: 14
In 2022 so far:
Responses: 369, a 206.1% change.
Transports: 235, a 179.4% change.
Serious Condition: 59, a 137.2% change.
Critical condition: 15, a 7.1% change.
MedStar says prolonged exposure to hot temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses large amount of water and salt through excessive sweating, this loss of fluids can constrict circulation and interfere with brain function. Symptoms include muscle cramps, paleness, sweating, nausea and vomiting.
Heatstroke is a life-threatening complication that occurs when the body suffers from long and intense exposure to heat and loses the ability to cool itself. Symptoms include confusion, vomiting, sweating altercation, hot and flushed skin, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, decreased urination or convulsions.
Here’s a few tips from MedStar on avoiding both heat exhaustion and heatstroke:
Hydrate: Drink plenty of water during the day, even sports drinks are a good choice for exercising or working in hot conditions.
Ventilate: Staying in a place where there is plenty of circulating air can keep the body cool. If air conditioning isn’t available, try opening a window or using a fan.
Cover up: Wearing light-colored and loose-fitting clothing can help avoid absorbing the sun’s light and trapping heat. A hat can help shield from the sun, but remember to remove it if you’re getting warm, covering the head can trap heat close to the body.
Limit activity: Heatstroke can occur in less than an hour when participating in strenuous activity during a hot day. If you feel like you’re getting hot or light-headed, stopping the activity and resting in a cool place while drinking water can help.
Check on loved ones: The elderly are vulnerable to heat-related emergencies and many are unaware of how hot it might get in their homes. Calling and checking up on them is recommended.