A man seeks relief during a heat wave with a garden hose shower.

Photo Credit: Instant Vantage / Flickr

What the Heck is a Heat Dome?

It's like putting a lid on a giant pot

The heat won’t last but in the meantime, check on older folks, don’t leave your kids or your pets in the car and drink lots and lots of water.

It’s going to be hot this weekend. Everyone keeps talking about this “heat dome,” but what the heck does that even mean?

Well, we can thank La Ninã for the phenomenon. And it’s a pretty normal weather event. This one is strange because it’s happening here. Most of the time, heat domes happen over places like California, not Cumberland.

A graphic to explain how the cycle of a heat dome works.
How the cycle of a heat dome works – Washington Post

Heat domes happen when the western part of the Pacific ocean gets warm while the eastern part (the part we live in) is cooler. Air from the hot western Pacific blows over to North America where it gets trapped by the jet stream. That trapped air acts kind of like a lid on a pot—and we’re about to boil.

That “lid” sends clouds and cooler weather systems around itself, so we get no rain. Also, the ground dries out, which makes it even easier to heat. So as the lid sits on top of us, the weather just gets hotter.

Eventually, the lid moves on.

We know from life on the Island that the wind never really stops, it just slows down sometimes. So the heatwave will end, but that won’t be till next week.

In the meantime, it’s important to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Check on older folks who don’t have air conditioning. Don’t leave your kids or your pets in the car! And drink lots and lots of water.