The West reels from latest extreme heat wave, with more to come
OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) — With much of the West Coast recovering from another round of extreme heat, there's little time for recovery before another extended period of scorching temperatures returns.
The latest brutal heat wave hit much of the West over the weekend, on the heels of a string of globally record-breaking heat days that slammed millions of people over the U.S. Independence Day holiday.
Heat records are again getting shattered across the world, along with dramatic floods in the U.S. Northeast, India, Japan and China. June was the hottest on record, and for most of July the world has been in excessive heat territory, according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer.
Temperatures in Missoula are forecast to reach triple digits this week and remain in the upper 90s for the near future. The average temperature is around 86 degrees.
In Death Valley, a national park that runs along part of central California’s border with Nevada, the National Weather Service recorded temperatures of 128 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday at Furnace Creek. That location is where the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was reported, 134 degrees (56.67 C), in July 1913.
Temperatures at or above 130 degrees (54.44 C) have only been recorded on Earth a handful of times, mostly in Death Valley. But on Sunday the heat index — which measures what temperature it feels like to the human body, combining humidity with the ambient air temperature — at the Persian Gulf International Airport reached 152 degrees Fahrenheit. The highest heat index ever recorded was 178 degrees in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on July 8, 2003, according to National Weather Service meteorologists.
Farther north, Reno-based forecasters reported that even areas in Nevada's higher elevations like South Lake Tahoe hit 93 degrees Sunday — with nearby Reno and Carson City in Nevada hitting 108 and 102 respectively.
The state and local governments mobilized different resources around the region, such as by opening cooling centers for people without access to air conditioning.
California Governor Gavin Newsom's administration reminded employers Friday that state inspectors are conducting targeted high heat inspections with a focus on construction, agriculture, landscaping and warehouse industries to safeguard workers' rights in extreme conditions. Officials also canceled horse racing at the opening weekend of the California State Fair, urging fairgoers to stay hydrated and seek refuge inside air-conditioned buildings.
A cooling trend provided some relief Monday, with the Sacramento office of the National Weather Forecast predicting that it will last into the middle of the week as the strong upper ridge retreats to the east and allows minor synoptic cooling.
By the end of the week, however, another heat wave returns. National Weather Forecast Sacramento projects high temperatures surpassing 110 degrees in some valley areas between Friday and Saturday.
“Friday appears to be the hottest day with forecasting highs from around 103 to 112 in the Central Valley, hottest in the Northern Sacramento Valley,” forecasters said. “A minor cooling trend then develops over the weekend into early next week as (the) ridge axis shifts east and upper troughing in the EPAC builds inland. High temperatures however remain slightly above normal by Monday.”
In the meantime, cities in many inland California regions, from Chico to Modesto to Fresno, will continue seeing high temperatures nearing or surpassing 100 degrees Fahrenheit each day from Thursday through July 31.