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NOAA USA image of excessive heat outlook.August 7, 2001 — As the remnants of Tropical Storm Barry made the final stop along its soggy trail in Alabama on Tuesday, other parts of the nation continued to wilt under blistering temperatures and dangerously high heat indices. NOAA's National Weather Service issued heat advisories from the Dakotas to New York City and South Carolina, warning residents to take precaution against the heat. (Click NOAA image to see latest heat index outlook.)

"It's summer in America, and that means it's going to get hot," said Donald Wernly, a meteorologist at National Weather Service headquarters just outside of Washington, D.C. "Heat-related deaths are the leading cause of weather fatalities in the country, and everyone must take the heat warnings seriously."

Click NOAA image for larger view.
NOAA image of USA with record high temperatures.
Source: NOAA's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center

Forecasters expect the heat to continue through Friday, when a cold front from Canada will push away some of the heat in the upper Midwest, New England and Mid-Atlantic states. However, states in the lower Plains—such as Oklahoma—and Texas further south will continue to bake.

In Minnesota, "It's every bit as bad as we'd want it," said Craig Edwards, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service Twin Cities Forecast Office in Chanhassen. For five consecutive days, the state has been smothered by a suffocating heat wave. "It's been hard to catch your breath outside," he added. "But to their credit," Edwards said, "Minnesotans have heeded the heat warnings, and slowed down their outdoor activity."

In New York City, where the stubborn heat mass has slowly crept, the heat index made the temperatures feel like 105 degrees on Tuesday. Michael Wyllie, meteorologist-in-charge of the forecast office in Upton, said "this is the longest heat spell here in a couple of years." The Upton Forecast Office is tapped into New York City's special emergency operations, and is providing critical weather support to city officials. "It's getting dangerous out there," Wyllie said, adding the area's only relief may come through spotty thunderstorms later in the week.

Science Behind The Heat
A broad dome of high pressure over the Plains, eastward to the Mid-Atlantic states has brought prolonged periods of sweltering, dangerous heat across huge portions of the nation.

"These are the dog days of August, so we can expect additional heat spells," Wernly said.

Bye-Bye Barry
Meanwhile, the remnants of Barry brought heavy rains to parts of Alabama, triggering minor urban floods. What was left of the 2001 Hurricane season's second-named storm fizzled after it reached the Mississippi border.

NOAA Forecasters will update the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season outlook on Thursday.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA's Excessive Heat Outlook

All About Heat Waves

What to Do When Heat Waves Strike

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center's 6 to 10 day Outlook

1999 Heat-Related Fatalities — PDF file. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.

1995 Heat-Related Fatalities

NOAA's Heat and Drought Awareness

NOAA's Weather Page

NOAA's Storm Watch

Media Contact:
John Leslie, NOAA's National Weather Service, (301) 713-0622