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A Heat Wave is Impacting the South After a Tornado and Waterspout

By: Ada Xin

A tornado hit Perryton, Texas late on Thursday, June 15, 2023, and the city has opened cooling centers for the residents because of a concurrent heat wave. The heat wave is affecting a large range of states across the U.S. South. Beachgoers in Florida ran away from a waterspout that washed ashore while also experiencing the heat wave.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott visited Perryton, Texas while officials there reported that more than 1,000 residents were cut off from electricity. Three people were killed; two of them women and one an 11-year-old boy. The Perryton Ochiltree Chamber of Committee said they will open a cooling center in the middle of town, for up to 8,000 people.

"At times of events like these, Texans come together," Abbott told reporters as he signed the disaster declaration. The Declaration would help to have most resources used to help rebuild the town faster (NPR, 2023).

The governor was shocked to see how much damage had been done, but he praised the healthcare workers who have been said to be working nonstop. They have helped 160 people in the area with only 25 beds in the hospital.

The National Weather Service provided a report of excessive heat warnings with the heat indexes ranging from 115 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. More cooling stations have been implanted along the Texan coast and farther inland for residents without electricity.

Allison Prater is a meteorologist at the National Weather Service and says the heat is actually because of humidity: "The reason we're having such heat is there is a lot of moisture being pulled up from the Gulf of Mexico," Prater said. "That's working with the warmer temperatures to induce ... that 'feels like' temperature" (NPR, 2023).

The Texas tornado was an EF-3 category tornado. It had an estimated 140 miles per hour speed of wind.

Authorities from Clearwater, Florida say that two people from Kansas were injured by beach related objects flying in the air. Waterspouts are tornadoes that develop over water and disappear when they make landfall.

"Hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur," the National Weather Service reported.(NPR, 2023).

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