Texas Braces for Dangerous Heatwave with Triple-Digit Heat Indices and Record Electrical Demand

Texas is bracing for a severe heatwave that will lead to dangerous triple-digit heat indices this week and into the weekend.[0] Houston, which is expected to feel the brunt of the heatwave, could experience a heat index of up to 112 degrees, just one degree shy of a daily record in the city.[1] ERCOT, the state’s power grid operator, has issued a Weather Watch due to forecasted higher temperatures and higher electrical demand, set to last until June 21.[2] In the previous year, ERCOT achieved a historic milestone by surpassing 80 GWs and setting 11 new peak demand records.[3] On July 20, 2022, the existing record of 80,148 MWs was established.[2]

The National Weather Service has issued Heat Advisories and Excessive Heat Watches for much of the area, from Houston to South Texas, and warned that the heat index could reach 118 degrees in Corpus Christi and Laredo.[4] The heat is expected to continue through the weekend, with high humidity levels boosting feels-like temperatures closer to 110 degrees.[5] Cooling centers have been opened across Harris County, home to Houston, to help people cope with the heat.[3]

People who work outside are advised to limit their activity to early morning or evening when it’s cooler, stay hydrated, and take frequent breaks in the shade or in air-conditioned spaces.[6] It is also important not to leave pets or children inside vehicles during hot weather as the temperature inside a closed car can rise to a deadly 143 degrees within an hour.[7]

While Texas in the summer months gets hot in general, this particular heatwave is related to a ridge of high pressure setting up overhead of Central and South Texas, bringing in moisture from the coast throughout the week and adding humidity to the mix.[8] The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has predicted that Texas will pass its record-high demand for energy this week, but outages are not expected.[8]

The heatwave is a reminder of the dangers of extreme heat, which can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, and fainting, while heat stroke can cause high body temperature, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness. It is important to seek medical attention if you or someone you know experiences these symptoms.

0. “Texas Is Going to Be Slammed by Sky-High Temperatures This Week” Gizmodo, 14 Jun. 2023, https://gizmodo.com/texas-faces-intense-heat-this-week-1850538731

1. “Space City Weather's guide to the first heat wave of 2023” Space City Weather, 12 Jun. 2023, https://spacecityweather.com/space-city-weathers-guide-to-the-first-heat-wave-of-2023/

2. “ERCOT issues weather watch amid increased demand” FOX 4 News Dallas-Fort Worth, 13 Jun. 2023, https://www.fox4news.com/news/ercot-issues-weather-watch-texas-weather

3. “Houston heating up this week | What you need to know about staying safe, cool, power grid conditions” KHOU.com, 12 Jun. 2023, https://www.khou.com/article/weather/houston-weather-heatwave-update/285-4f23318e-9e07-468e-a6d3-ab8eb03360d4

4. “Texas Braces For Scorching Early Summer Heat Wave — Here's Where Temperatures May Break Records” Forbes, 15 Jun. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianbushard/2023/06/15/texas-braces-for-scorching-early-summer-heat-wave—heres-where-temperatures-may-break-records/

5. “Punishing heat, severe storms to slam Texas” The Washington Post, 12 Jun. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2023/06/12/texas-extreme-heat-severe-storms/

6. “Houston weather: First heat advisory of the season issued” FOX 26 Houston, 14 Jun. 2023, https://www.fox26houston.com/news/houston-weather-first-heat-advisory-of-the-season-issued

7. “Dangerous heatwave intensifies – Excessive heat watch issued for Houston” FOX 26 Houston, 16 Jun. 2023, https://www.fox26houston.com/weather/dangerous-heatwave-intensifies-excessive-heat-watch-issued-for-houston

8. “Hello, summer: San Antonio's first triple-digit days of 2023 are imminent” San Antonio Report, 14 Jun. 2023, https://sanantonioreport.org/hello-summer-san-antonios-first-triple-digit-days-of-2023-are-imminent