The Southwest United States experienced an extreme heat wave this week. Records have either been smashed or tied. In Needles, California, 124ºF tied the record on June 20, 2017. The hottest temperature recorded for this event was Death Valley, California at 127ºF, which is the hottest temperature ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere so early in the year. A high pressure created a dome of sinking air causing temperatures to rise. Weather Underground stated that this is expected as a “pre-monsoon” event. Airports in the region have had to cancel flights due to hotter air being thinner; which means planes need more runway to accommodate for more speed needed to take off. There have been reports of roads buckling in California, wildfires continue to burn, and power grids are being strained from the overuse. The heat is forecasted to lower by Sunday and stay through the week. High Levels of ground-level ozone pollution affected the region through the event. Ground-level ozone pollution is created when volatile organic carbon (VOC) compounds and nitrogen oxides form a chemical reaction is the presence of sunlight. The heat triggered an “unhealthy” range of pollution which increased the risk of stroke, heart attack and breathing problems.
Be sure to check in on loved ones during this event. Please, do not leave pets or children in a hot car. Stay hydrated and wear plenty of sunscreen.
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ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell
DISCUSSION: Within the last couple of days, a weak area of low pressure gradually pushed portions of western-to-northwestern Europe. As this disturbance moved through these sections of Europe, there was a distinct low/mid-level wind shift from predominantly northeasterly to approximately southeasterly winds. Hence, this allowed for a much warmer and more buoyant air mass to move into the region. Thus, this facilitated a much more convectively unstable ambient environment which made it easier for the atmosphere to generate reasonably deep convection. As storms did fire during the earlier part of this past week, the convection which did fire up became sufficiently deep to become a concern for frequent lightning generation.
As captured in the footage above, there were many cases in which there was fairly close calls with regard to lightning strikes in close proximity to more populated areas. As is always the case with severe storms, this makes it particularly hazardous for people which are going about their day-to-day business/activities. The most important factor to consider when you are in the vicinity of strong-to-severe thunderstorms is that lightning is one of the most dangerous storm-related threats to people and property in general. Therefore, it is always important to highly respect the natural power of the atmosphere in all convective situations. Moreover, as the National Weather Service network always urges to the public in such situations, "When thunder roars, be sure to go indoors."
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
Excessive Heat Watches in Place for Triple Digit Heat in Western U.S. (Credit: Meteorologist Jessica Olsen)
DISCUSSION: The first shot of major warmth is set to hit the area and residents may be taken by surprise. Until now temperatures have been mild in most coastal cities with moderation in inland areas which is typical for the late spring/early summer season.
Several National Weather Service offices have issued excessive heat watches; as a period of warmer than average temperatures are expected throughout the interior portions of California this Father’s Day weekend. In addition to the excessive heat watches in California, a number of excessive heat warnings and heat advisories are in place for southern California, southern Nevada, and nearly half of Arizona
The excessive heat watch is in place as a deep high pressure system builds in the western US and advects warm air into the area, the temperatures are expected between 10-20 degrees above normal which, could pose a threat to residents as heat related illnesses may be on the rise this weekend. Some interior locations can expect to see triple digit temperature readings. As the high pressure located in the southwestern US makes its way into the forecast area, temperatures will warm some today with the most drastic changes Friday and into the weekend.
Potential impacts of excessive heat include but are not limited to:
*Heat related illnesses
-wear light and loose fitting clothing
-schedule activities for early morning or evening
-drink plenty of water
-check on family/friends/pets
*Increased wildfire danger
-schedule yard activity for early morning or evening to reduce spark risk
*Extreme car temperatures
-do not leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles
For up to date watch and warning information please visit the National Weather Service.
Stay tuned for additional details on excessive heat events in your area at the Global Weather and Climate Center!
© Meteorologist Jessica Olsen