The Omaha area is headed into what could be the hottest stretch of the year, with forecast highs well above average for the end of summer.
Temperatures of 90-plus degrees could linger through Labor Day as the central United States bakes under a high pressure system.
“This is going to feel like the hottest weather of the summer,” said Barbara Mayes, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“How long will it last? It's tough to find a break. Certainly during the next seven days, the heat is going to hang on.”
Most of the summer, weather systems have flowed in from the Pacific Northwest, bringing near-average to below-average temperatures. But the high pressure system over the central U.S. will allow warm air from the south to flow northward while blocking cool air from the north, Mayes said.
Heat indices are likely to dance around 100 degrees for a couple of days in a row, a level at which people need to be mindful of the draining effects of the heat, she said.
“Stay hydrated, check on vulnerable people like the elderly and definitely don't leave children or pets in cars,” she said as she ticked through summer's usual precautions.
So far this year, Omaha has had only one triple-digit day, a fluke 101 degrees in May. The highest the mercury has reached this summer was 96 degrees in early July. The hottest stretch occurred over 11 days in mid-July, when temperatures ranged from 88 to 95 degrees.
But Omaha could have another 100-degree day with this stretch, possibly by the middle of next week, according to AccuWeather Inc., The World-Herald's private weather consultant.
“We feel very confident it's going to be hot. Whether its 99 or 101, no one is going to know the difference,” said Tom Kines, meteorologist with AccuWeather.
Mayes noted that it is harder to reach triple digits this late in the season. Days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky, so the sun's effect is less intense.
The national Climate Prediction Center is projecting higher-than-average temperatures across most of the country through at least Sept. 5, which is the furthest out that it forecasts. The average high in Omaha for the last week of August is 83 to 84 degrees, while record highs range from 98 to 104 degrees.
Kines said there's a chance that once Labor Day arrives, the weather pattern may change again, and a cool front from the north could push out the high pressure system.