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Over recent days, mornings in the Rio Grande Valley have been warmer than usual, forecasters said Friday.
“We’ve been breaking records for the minimum temperature in Brownsville for the past two mornings,” said Laura Farris, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Brownsville. “So we’re seeing warmer than normal temperatures, and combined with humidity, it’s making heat indices spike higher than normal.
Even for the Valley, the heat is more intense than the region’s typical entrance into May.
“So yes, it’s definitely early in the season to be experiencing these heat indices,” Farris said.
The combination of heat and humidity will produce heat indices or “feel like” temperatures near or exceeding 110 degrees all weekend and through Monday, forecasters advised. Further, temperatures and humidity are likely to create dangerous levels of heat this weekend through Monday for Starr, Zapata, Jim Hogg and parts of Hidalgo County, forecasters said.
According to the NWS: “The combination of the the heat and humidity (Gulf moisture) peak this weekend and Monday, potentially pushing the heat index values well over 110 degrees between 1 and 6 p.m. each afternoon. Favored areas to see excessive heat will be along and west of Interstate highway 69C or much of the brush country, Rio Grande plains and the Upper Rio Grande Valley.”
Some locations could see heat index values exceeding 115 degrees for a few hours Sunday and Monday.
When heat index values surpass 111 degrees for two hours or more, the NWS issues heat advisories.
If those values surge above 115 degrees, the meteorologists issue “excessive heat warnings,” Farris explained.
Saturday’s forecast suggests heat indices of 104 degrees in Brownsville, 108 degrees from Harlingen to McAllen, 110 degrees in San Manuel in northern Hidalgo County, and 112 degrees in Rio Grande City.
Sunday and Monday could bring even warmer days. The heat indices could peak at 117 degrees at Falcon Dam on Sunday and Monday. Starr County could see “feels like” temperatures of around 115-116 degrees.
The coolest community to seek relief, unsurprisingly, will be South Padre Island.
Heat indices there will remain around the 89-91 degree mark this weekend into Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
People at job sites and outdoors should guard against the heat by hydrating and taking breaks in the shade as often as possible. Children and pets should not be left unattended in vehicles.
Cramps or heat exhaustion are possible for anyone, especially those “not acclimated or unprepared for ‘feels like’ temperatures near 110.”
Heat exhaustion is likely for people unprepared for heat between 111 and 115.
“Heat stroke is possible for persons exposed to the heat for several hours without adequate protection, with severe life and health risk,” the NWS added.