Record-setting heatwave intensifies in the Plains

July 20, 2022

There are no signs of Mother Nature throttling back on the heat anytime soon across the interior West and High Plains. In fact, AccuWeather meteorologists warn that the most sizzling conditions yet this summer season are expected to build even more this week, putting dozens of record highs in jeopardy as temperatures soar past the century mark, including the Lawton area.

Forecasters are predicting temperatures will hit 112 in Lawton on Monday and see highs exceed 100 every day for the next week, ranging from 102 to 108.

Unrelenting days of extreme temperatures are likely to put a significant strain not only on residents and visitors of the region, but also livestock, crops and the power grid. Rolling blackouts have already been an ongoing problem in Texas due to weeks of searing heat in heavily populated areas, including in Houston during an on-air TV broadcast.

Forecasters say that with the next wave of dangerously hot weather set to build this week, temperatures could reach their highest levels of the year so far from Rapid City, South Dakota, to Wichita, Kansas, as well as Oklahoma City and Dallas. Temperatures in many locales across the High Plains have averaged 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal month-to-date and the intensifying heat will further elevate these departures from normal.

An area of high pressure already in place across the West will expand eastward and strengthen early in the week.

"With temperatures in the region already running well above average, the addition of higher pressure moving in will only act to increase temperatures," AccuWeather Meteorologist Joseph Bauer said.

By Monday, triple-digit heat were expected to swelter a swath from South Dakota to Texas. Rapid City is expected to approach its daily record of 106 set in 2006 and likely eclipse its hottest day of the year so far set back on June 29 when a high of 102 was recorded. Forecasted highs in the Texas hubs of Dallas (109) and Lubbock (105) are set to eclipse daily records, while the major metro area of Denver is forecasted at 100, which would narrowly break the daily record of 99 set in 2020.

Some of the records that will be challenged have stood since the 1930s, according to Bauer.

With a forecast high of 105, North Platte, Nebraska, is forecast to break its record high of 103 set in 1936. Goodland, Kansas, may fall just shy of matching its high point of 106 for that date, set in the same year.