Normally gallons of sweet tea, homemade popsicles, and ceiling fans get many Southerners through the summer heat just fine. This year, the air conditioner is probably going to be necessary.

By Melissa Locker
May 23, 2017

According to a forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the South might be in for a long, hot summer and cool evening breezes might not cut it, in fact, there might not be cool evening breezes at all at the height of the heat wave. Based on NOAA’s predictions, the Gulf Coast might be hotter than ever this year, and Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas won’t fare much better. Currently there is more than a 33% chance that summer temperatures will be higher than average. It’s part of a trend marked last month with the second warmest April on record globally.

While many of us are used to cooling off on the porch after a long hot day, experts say that those overnight low temperatures might not come, or might not sink as low as we’re used to. When it doesn’t cool off at night for at least a few hours, an extended hot spell can become especially dangerous, according to NOAA’s forecast.

The South is not alone in this expected heat wave. The East Coast, Hawaii, and parts of the Southwest are set to have a brutal summer this year. The Great Plains states just might have a cooler-than-usual summer so it could be a great time visit Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota’s Corn Palace, or Yellowstone National Park.

There is a glimmer of hope, though. NOAA forecaster Stephen Baxter says the summer might not be as brutal as expected because in many places spring was so wet. The rain-soaked soil might help keep some of that summer heat down. We’re still pricing out air conditioners for every room in the house, though.