Forecasters: Heat dome set to return to state near week's end

This graphic from the National Weather Service shows a map highlighting the high temperatures around the state for Monday, August 28, 2023. (National Weather Service/Twitter)

Arkansans are likely noticing a more comfortable temperature on Monday afternoon as the highs are closer to 90 degrees with less humidity, but intense heat is set to return to the state near the end of the week, the National Weather Service said. 

“High temps on Monday will be pleasant compared to the extreme heat we have faced in the past. It's nice to see most areas across the state struggle to reach 90°F,” the weather service stated in a post on X just after 5:35 a.m. on Monday. 

According to Justin Condry, a forecaster with the weather service in North Little Rock, “A cold front moved into the state over the weekend and brought a lower dew point, which means that even though it is still hot, it feels cooler.”

Even though temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, the drier air makes it feel better, Condry said Monday afternoon. 

“Unfortunately, these conditions won’t last. It’s not going to take us into fall,” the forecaster stated. 

Condry also said that the heat dome could return to Arkansas by the weekend.

A heat dome is used to describe an area where stagnant heat has stayed. 

The forecaster also mentioned that heat index values around the state could be 100 degrees or more over the weekend and highs in northern Arkansas could be in the 90s. 

“We’ve seen the six to 10 day forecast outlook and it is already projecting above average temperatures,” he said. 

Earlier this month, Little Rock reached a total of 14 days where the temperature made it to 100 degrees, Dan Koch, a meteorologist with the weather service in Little Rock said Tuesday morning. Hot Springs had 14 days and Pine Bluff had 17 days where the city reached triple-digit temperatures so far this year. 

Little Rock had seven consecutive days where the temperature reached at least 100 degrees, Koch said. Hot Springs and Pine Bluff both had an eight day string of triple-digit temperatures. 

Condry said Arkansans should remember to stay inside but if they need to work outside they should stay in the shade, take a lot of breaks and drink water. 

“We always want to remind people to be aware of heat stroke and other heat illnesses and make sure they are taking care of themselves,” the meteorologist said. 

  photo  This map shows the Arkansas counties that have put a burn ban into place as of Monday, August 28, 2023. (Arkansas Department of Agriculture)

The lack of rainfall has also made the ground very dry, the forecaster said. 

“Something else to be aware of is that the ground is dry enough that some areas have placed burn bans into effect, but even if there is not a burn ban, the ground is still dry and people should be careful burning anything,” Condry said. 

A map from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture showed that over 20 counties in the state have issued burn bans, as of Monday at 2:20 p.m. Much of the counties with burn bans are in the southwest and eastern parts of the state. 

Another map from the state’s Department of Agriculture showed that all but the northeast part of Arkansas is at a moderate risk for wildfire danger, as of Monday afternoon as well. 

CORRECTION: Little Rock saw a consecutive, seven-day streak where temperatures reached 100 degrees or more. That streak broke on Aug. 26. So far this year, the city has seen temperatures in the triple digits 14 times. Hot Springs and Pine Bluff saw eight consecutive days of temperatures that reached 100 degrees or more and saw temperatures reach at least 100 degrees 14 and 17 times this year, respectively. A previous version of this article included errors concerning how many consecutive and total days the cities saw the high temperatures.