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Heat Advisories Back in Force, Reflect Major Change in Climatic Pattern

Heat Index Temps Exceeding 110° Forecast for Area

"Another day, another heat advisory," is the phrase that begins the daily weather forecast from the National Weather Service in Ruskin for the Lake Wales area. High temperatures and higher humidity are combining to make conditions dangerous if precautions are not taken.

In a summer that has already seen below-normal rainfall and scorching heat, "above average temperatures and less rain through the remainder of the week" are the expected conditions, according to meteorologists. A moist air-mass with dew-points approaching 80° F and overnight lows lingering in the 80's, stifling heat will build each day, with high temperatures exceeding 95° F on a daily basis.

The only relief from the heat could come from a passing rain shower, but a westerly wind off the Gulf of Mexico continues to push thunderstorms to the east coast of Florida.

The Melbourne NWS office has added their own warnings about the dangers in coming days, predicting a heat index, or "feels like temperature" as high as 115° F across portions of central Florida. South Florida is expecting those numbers to rise to 117° or higher.

Like most of the nation, Florida is experiencing the effects of climatic shifts that have driven conditions outside their normal ranges. A persistent "heat dome" of high pressure over the American Southwest has displaced the more-moderate influence of the "Bermuda High" that normally drives cooler Atlantic air masses over Florida. As a result the accompanying rains that long-time residents call "nature's air conditioning" have been largely absent.

Meanwhile, extreme rains and flooding events have been battering cities and states across the Northeast, as well as normally drier places around the globe. Climatologists are warning that worse is yet to come as warmer Arctic temperatures resulting from the melting of the ice cap have disrupted the normal ring of jet-stream winds that drive the Earth's weather systems. Persistent patterns have become more common, leading to more extreme weather events.

Rising atmospheric CO2 levels are blamed for climate changes as the amount of the invisible heat-trapping gas has risen dramatically since 1970.

"For now, as we continue with the soaring temperatures, be sure to take precautions against the heat," warns the National Weather Service. "Drink plenty of water, take frequent breaks in the shade or air conditioner."


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