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Near-record highs forecast for Memorial Day weekend in Orlando

Map showing heat risk in Central Florida.
National Weather Service
On this NWS HeatRisk index map, showing forecasts for Central Florida as of Friday morning, orange indicates a moderate heat risk, red a major risk and purple an extreme risk.

A Memorial Day heat wave is forecast to have afternoon highs near triple digits, plus the National Weather Service HeatRisk indexindicates a major risk for parts of Central Florida

For the Orlando area on Tuesday, the index indicates an extreme heat risk.

The forecast includes a slight chance of rain Saturday afternoon. Otherwise, it's hot and dry. The afternoon highs will be bumping up against the daily records of 99 or 100 degrees.

In Orlando, the forecast high is 98 on Sunday and Monday and 97 on Tuesday.

Weather service meteorologist Kole Fehling in Melbourne said the HeatRisk index takes into account time of year, the duration of the heat, including nighttime temperatures, and the danger of heat-related illnesses.

"So especially as we get into the major and extreme, that's when the data suggest that heat-related illnesses are most likely," he said.

For days like these, the Health Departmentsays stay hydrated, go slow when working outside, and take plenty of breaks. Young children, older adults and anyone with a chronic condition should stay in air-conditioning.

Unfortunately, Fehling says the above normal temps are here for at least a few weeks.

"[T]hrough at least June 14 above normal temperatures are likely," Fehling said. "But this is also a period of time when we do have a better chance of higher temperatures because we're transitioning between the dry season and the wet season."

Drier than normal conditions also contribute to the heat.

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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