It’s going to be a hot one…
More than 80 million people are under excessive heat alerts this weekend with record temperatures possible in over 10 states.
Excessive heat warnings are in effect for California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Texas. Heat advisories are in place for some surrounding states, including Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
“Nearly 100 daily record highs are in jeopardy over the weekend, and even more record heat is expected next week as the heat remains locked over much of the western half of the country,” said Haley Brink, CNN meteorologist.
Some cities like El Paso and Abilene, Texas, will likely only have record-breaking heat one day this weekend. However, Las Vegas and Yuma, Arizona, could break temperature records for the next 3 days straight.
We know it’s simmering in the Southwest, but Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, aren’t exactly known for being hot places. This weekend, however, they both have a chance to break records.
Excessive heat alerts are in place for Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana this weekend. Seattle will peak on Sunday with highs in the 90s. Portland may hit triple digits both Saturday and Sunday.
Many people retreat to the mountains to seek relief from the heat in the Northwest, but extra precautions may be needed if you go there this weekend. “It’s going to be hot this weekend!” The Mount Rainier National Park Service warned on its Twitter page. “Hot weather can make park rivers run strong and cold with melting glacier ice & snow. Please practice water safety during river crossings.”
Basically, when temperatures soar, snow and ice melt at faster rates and can fill the rivers up more quickly than usual. So, people who may retreat into those rivers, creeks, and streams may be surprised by how swift the current is, compared to normal.
Extreme Conditions Make it Harder to Fight Fires
This week has been a bad one for western wildfires. Fires have destroyed more than 90,000 acres across three states and continue to spread rapidly. Evacuation orders have been issued for Los Angeles County, California, Wasco County, Oregon, as well as Garfield and Larimer counties in Colorado.
In Los Angeles County, there are two active fires—the Lake Fire and Ranch2 Fire. The Ranch2 Fire has forced over 300 homes to be evacuated. The Lake Fire has destroyed at least three structures so far and is threatening another 5,000.
The extreme heat that is expected this weekend makes it harder on firefighters. Not only because conditions are ripe for the fires to spread, but also because fighting fires in full gear and in the intense heat can raise firefighters’ core body temperature, increasing the risk of heat stress.
There has also been a lack of rain across much of the Southwest in recent months, despite the fact that the monsoon should have started to bring much-needed rain to the region beginning in July.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, Phoenix and Flagstaff, Arizona, haven’t recorded rain since the end of July. There’s also Los Angeles and San Diego which haven’t reported any since May and June, respectively. It’s been even longer for places like Palm Springs, California, and Las Vegas and Yuma, Arizona, that haven’t recorded rain since April.