AUSTIN (KXAN) — A recent report published by the First Street Foundation found soon the heat index could surpass 125 degrees in much of Texas. The study was first reported by our media partners with the Texas Tribune. The increase in the heat index is a result of climate change.

Meteorologist Rich Segal spoke with Erin Douglas from the Texas Tribune about the report and why Austin will soon feel like a desert. You can watch the interview above or read the transcript below to learn more.

Rich Segal, KXAN News: A study was recently done that suggested these heat index values that we’re seeing now to get even higher.

Erin Douglas, Texas Tribune: Yes, that’s true. So the study is by the First Street Foundation. It’s a research data science and technology nonprofit, and the studies are peer-reviewed extreme heat models, meaning they are taking what’s happening right now.

They’re sort of combining it with some of the global average temperature models and input that calculation to figure out, you know, what we might see for extreme heat coming up in the next 30 years. And so the major finding from this report is that across the country, on average, the hottest seven days locally, are expected to become the hottest 18 days by 2053.

Segal: We saw some numbers this year of 110 to 115. So is the study suggesting even hotter than that?

Douglas: Yes, exactly. So by next year, those areas could see the heat index, which is the temperature we feel when combined with humidity above 125 degrees Fahrenheit. So it would be pretty dramatic, and we expect to see more of those types of temperatures in the next 30 years.

Segal: And what did they attribute this to?

Douglas: So this is climate change, essentially. And so what’s happening is we’re seeing average global temperatures rise, it’s not an even increase if that makes sense. So what we’re seeing is, as, as average global temperatures rise overall, you see more of the extremes.

They actually modeled this nationally, but they find that there’ll be essentially an extreme heat belt from northern Texas, and then Texas, Louisiana border north into the Midwest. And so those are the areas that would be greatest affected according to their modeling.

Segal: Was there any modeling done for right here in the Austin and Central Texas area?

Douglas: Yeah, so right now Austin experiences about 14 consecutive days of extreme heat a year. And by the middle of the century, they’re projecting that that could almost double to 20 to a 26-day stretch of extreme heat.

Then total throughout the year, the Austin area could see around 90 extreme heat days. So in other words, the summer we just experienced is likely to become a lot more common.