Nobody needs a news report to know that summer is hot, but we’re in the midst of a particular scorcher. Scientists like to create visualizations to convey the full impact of natural phenomenon, such as heat waves, and this one from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reveals—in bright, flaming hues—what may be in store for the continental United States this week. The heat map was created using predicted high temperatures across the country, painting one toasty picture for the days ahead.
Data from NOAA’s HRRR Model was compiled to create a map that shows the predicted high temperatures on July 18, 2016 at 5 p.m. EDT. The map is essentially a snapshot of the dawn of the heat wave that is expected to last through the week. The heat wave is expected to be severe, as a “heat dome” created by a high pressure ridge and extreme temperatures will trap and intensify heat in several places across the U.S.
The forecast calls for heat index values to reach 110 degrees or higher in some areas of the country. The National Weather Service issued heat alerts for more than a dozen cities in light of the soaring temps. A quick glance at this brightly colored heat map is slightly terrifying, but a slightly longer gaze will allow enough time for the realization that this is only the beginning, and there is a great deal of summer left to endure before temperatures will ease back to more comfortable levels.