The oppressive summer heat continues

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - The unrelenting August heat continues to hold its grip over Deep East Texas, due in large part to a big dome of hot, high pressure, centered right over the Southern Plain states.

This high pressure ridge started to expand and strengthen last weekend, and has been stuck in neutral ever since.  As a result, we have seen day after day of record heat and scorching temperatures across the Lone Star State.

A July Fry to Forget

This past July was the second warmest July on record at the Angelina County Airport, just south of Lufkin.  The average temperature for that month was 86.9°, which was 4.3° above normal.  The warmest average July on record took place in 1998, where the average temperature was 87.7°.

July was also historic in the number of 100° days we saw as well.  The 16 occurrences was second all time, only to the July of 1998, where we saw the thermometer climb at or above the century mark 22 times that year.  To put the frequency of triple digit days in perspective, we typically average about 3 triple digit days for the entire month of July.

Triple Digit Days Adding Up

As of today, we have now hit or exceeded the century mark 30 times in 2011.  The highest frequency of 100° days in a single year was 42, which occurred in the hot summer of 1998.  At the pace we are on right now, we will have a shot to tie or break that record.

The Drought a Major Player

The overriding factor for our sizzling summer temperatures has been the ongoing extreme to exceptional drought across the Texas Forest Country.  With the soils being parched and extremely dry, there is no moisture to evaporate into the atmosphere.  Therefore, it makes it a whole lot easier for the environment to heat up, especially when we get into the months of July and August.

Slight Relief May Be Coming

As we head towards the weekend, daytime highs are still expected to reach triple digit territory with relative ease.  However, there are signs that this dome of high pressure will finally shift further off to the west by next week.  This means that we will take an edge off the extreme heat and will see slight rain chances re-enter the picture.

For a complete look at your StormTracker forecast, make sure to head to our StormTracker weather page.

©2011 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.