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Top 5 Weather Events of 2023: #1 - Extreme Heat

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It was the hottest summer on record in the Capital City, and not by a close margin. The warm season re-wrote the local temperature record books.

At the first signs of higher than usual heat, came higher than usual electric bills as air conditioning units fought to keep up. Some local residents expressed frustration by paying more money for electric bills but facing continued power outages. With that, spoiled food and no air conditioning sent some to cooler air in local hotels.

Indoor temperatures skyrocketed even in powered facilities. Some raised concerns about temperatures in the 80s and 90s inside a local juvenile detention center.

Cattle and other livestock huddled in shade where they could find it and only ventured into sun during feeding time. Heat scorched fields made that feed more expensive and hurt hay production.

Furry friends struggled to stay cool in the oppressive heat as well. Already overcrowded, animal shelters pleaded for fosters and were forced to crate dogs along the hallways of their facilities, just to keep them safe.

A number of records were broken in 2023, including the hottest summer on record and by the end of the calendar year, it is likely to be the hottest year on record in Baton Rouge. The number of “excessive heat warnings” issued by the National Weather Service at 29 was greater than the 20 issued since that product was first tracked in 2005.

State Climatologist Dr. Barry Keim attributes the seared record books to a number of factors. “We had this very persistent dome of high pressure parked over the region; obviously that played a huge role. That was probably related to El Nino,” he said. “Then we have climate change superimposed on top of that. I’m sure that’s exacerbating things. The trends have been up over the last several decades. And then just, Mother Nature, and natural variability.”

Follow along with the Storm Station’s top five weather events of 2023 on wbrz.com. Stay ahead of local weather with the Storm Station App and by following the team of meteorologists on Facebook and Twitter

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