How Hot The Heat Dome Actually Got

by Sara Levine

Those of you living in the United States may have noticed that it is really hot outside (if you haven’t, it might be time to leave the house). The high heat isn’t just because it’s summer, but because we’re in the middle of what meteorologists call a heat dome: when a jet stream very far north coincides with a building ridge south of the jet to create a dome of sinking, warm air. The worst of the heat dome seems to be behind us, but how hot did the heat dome really get? It’s time to take a nostalgic look back. OK, so maybe nostalgic isn’t the right word, but someday we can look back on this week of sweaty torture and laugh. Maybe.

1. Washington, D.C.

Our nation’s capitol reached a high of a sweltering 100 degrees for the first time since 2012, according to the Washington Post. The temperature was measured at Reagan National Airport — bad news for people trying to get out of the city, I guess. What's more, the heat index, factoring in humidity, felt like it was 113 degrees. Woof.

2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvia

Those at the DNC this past week were definitely feeling the burn, but not in the way you might think. Temperatures reached a high of 97 degrees on July 25, according to

3. New York, New York

My fellow New Yorkers were definitely sweating it out this past week or so, with the highest temperatures being recorded at 96 degrees in Central Park and 99 degrees at LaGuardia Airport — but with humidity, it felt like it was in the low 100s. I honestly felt like I was in that episode of Hey Arnold! where New York City is hit with a huge heat wave and everybody goes nuts and tries to flip over an ice cream truck out of desperation. That show was truly ahead of its time.

4. Death Valley, California

Fox News reported that Death Valley reached a high of 121 degrees (!!!), but reported it reached 127 degrees there in the past 24 hours. Either way, I can see why it’s called Death Valley. No, thank you.

5. Phoenix, Arizona

Temperatures of 111 degrees were recorded at the Sonoran Mountain Preserve, a nature preserve in Phoenix. What does 111 degrees even feel like? I don't want to find out, ever.

6. Chicago, Illinois

According to, Chicago felt a high of 93 degrees last Saturday, July 24 — not quite as bad as 2012, when it reached 100 degrees in Chi Town, but still not pleasant. The highest humidity, which occurred on July 23, was a whopping 93 percent, so I can only imagine how gross it felt to be outside.

7. Atlanta, Georgia

Had to show some love for my former place of residence. ATLiens felt temperatures climb up to 98 degrees on July 19, a record since 1958—proving just why they call it Hotlanta. Just kidding, nobody calls it that.

8. Dallas, Texas

Dallas residents felt the temperature peak at 100 degrees, which is pretty darn hot — even for Texas.

We did it, everybody. We survived the great heat dome of 2016. Now it’s time to brace for the flash floods. Isn’t the weather just great?

Images: n8yager / Tumblr; Giphy (3)