HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On June 19, Houston experienced its first 100-degree day a month early. Two more triple-digit days followed, making for three 100 degrees days this year and there's more in the forecast this week. ABC13 Meteorologist Elyse Smith dove into if the city could be in store for longer heat waves as the climate continues to change.
History shows that Houston is seeing a rise in the number of 100-degree days expected each year. The average number increased every 10 years, going from one day in the 1970s to 8.9 days in the 2010s.
In fact, three of the top five years with the highest number of 100-degree days have all occurred since 2000. The record for most triple-digit days is 46, set back in 2011. But it's not just the number of 100-degree days that's significant. It's the duration at which they can occur within heat waves.
History shows that Houston is seeing a rise in the 100-degree days we see each year, with the average number increasing every 10 years. In fact, three of the top five years with the highest number of 100-degree days have all occurred since 2000.
Our partners at ABC News and Climate Central show the average length of our heat waves, where temperatures are 95 degrees or greater, has increased over the past 50 years from 10 to 20 days. And that's already been proven this year, as Monday, June 26, was day 13 in a row with a high temperature at or above 95 degrees.
The increase in extreme heat and longer heat waves directly result from climate change.
The global temperature is about two degrees warmer than that of the late 1800s, and we definitely feel that here in Texas during the summer.
And the impact of these longer heat waves could mean an increase in heat-related illness and stress on our power grid with the reliance on air conditioning. It is also tied to a warming global temperature: warming waters that impact the sea-level rise and hurricane season, each changing how we live here in southeast Texas.