Unusual record-breaking night time temperatures expected this weekend in Columbus

Columbus temperatures are expected is to be well above average Saturday and Sunday morning, reaching triple digits during the day and breaking low record temperatures at night.

Meteorologists said temperatures will only dip into the mid-70s Saturday and Sunday morning. This is unusual, they said.

The high pressure system that is currently sweltering the desert Southwest in a heat dome is moving toward the Southeast, dragging with it the first triple-digit forecast of the year to the Chattahoochee Valley on Saturday. The extremely high temperatures pose heat illness risks, threaten local agriculture production and require respite through air conditioning, potentially driving up energy bills.

On Saturday, The National Weather Service (NWS) is expecting Columbus to reach 100 degrees, approaching the record high temp of 102 degrees set in 1914.

“The average for June is around 90 degrees,” Dylan Lusk, a lead meteorologist at NWS. “We are well above normal, especially for the overnight lows.”

The record maximum low temperature is 69 degrees set in 1955 and it is forecasted to reach 74 degrees, late Friday into early Saturday morning , Lusk said.

On Sunday morning, the low is expected to break another record at 77 degrees. Dusk said these lows are anywhere from six to 10 degrees above average for the region.

Farmers’ concern

Last August, Keith Simms of Mercy Med farms was concerned about his carrots doing well during a 73 degree night time temperature. He is most concerned with soil temperature, as it dictates the health and germination of the plant. This year, he isn’t planning on planting them. Instead he chose sweet potatoes, a more resilient crop.

Simms added that leafy greens can taste more bitter from an “earlier death”. “The sooner the heat during the night time temps arrive the sooner those crops get stressed,” Simms said.

Fathers Day this Sunday is expected to reach triple digits, and scientists say it is driven by climate change. The Climate Shift Index combines historical patterns of warming with 24 climate models to estimate how often the day’s temperature is expected to occur in today’s climate and in a climate without human-caused warming.
Fathers Day this Sunday is expected to reach triple digits, and scientists say it is driven by climate change. The Climate Shift Index combines historical patterns of warming with 24 climate models to estimate how often the day’s temperature is expected to occur in today’s climate and in a climate without human-caused warming.

What’s the Climate Connection?

According to the Climate Shift Index tool, developed by scientists to better connect local weather to human-caused climate change, the patterns this Saturday and Sunday are five times more likely because of climate change.

“The Climate Shift Index combines historical patterns of warming with 24 climate models to estimate how often the day’s temperature is expected to occur in today’s climate and in a climate without human-caused warming,” VP of Climate Central said in an email. “We get daily temperatures (today out to several days) from a weather forecast model from NOAA”.

A level five rating (five times more likely) means these conditions are exceptionally driven by climate change.

Summer nighttime temperatures have warmed nearly twice as fast as summer daytime temperatures, according to Climate Central. In the last fifty years the summer nights have warmed across the contiguous U.S. by 2.5 degrees.

Columbus isn’t alone.

“There is widespread 100-degree temps are expected throughout central Georgia,” Lusk said. “The only place you can find respite is up in the mountains.”

Be prepared this weekend by limiting outdoor exposure, especially for children. Extreme heat is the deadliest weather-related hazard in the U.S. with children as the most vulnerable, according to the National Integrated Heat Health Information System.

It is harder for babies and young children to regulate their core body temperature and they sweat less. The Center for Disease control sites the following as heat illness symptoms: headaches, nausea, cramps, or lethargy. Severe cases of heat stroke can cause organ damage or death.

The high pressure system that will bring the heat will have lower humidity than normal and will move out of the region quickly.

“The somewhat good news is the relative humidity is low, at only 30%, compared to what we would normally see,” Lusk said. “The pressure system will move out, and not stay day after day like it is in the Southwest.”