Record-Breaking Heat Continues in the West

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A quick look at our observed lunch time temperatures in the southwest confirm what we’ve been talking about for the past few days: it’s hot.

An anomalous ridge with 500 mb heights near/at 600 dm sits over the southwest as I write this.

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The 500 mb level reaching heights of of 600 dm is a rather uncommon event. It generally only happens when surface temperatures are very, very hot and all that hot air rises, forcing pressure heights higher than “normal.”

And boy, is it hot.

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This map outlines the potential record highs for today, of which there are many. However, it looks similar for each day through the weekend as the heat dome endures.

This extended heat wave is really the last thing this drought-stricken area of the country needs. Jacob has been writing a blog series on the megadrought affecting the west. Part One and Part Two are available to read now, with Part Three due out tomorrow. If you are interested in the developing crisis, give them a read. There is a lot of really good analysis and information to be found in them.

With each day of extreme heat and no rain doing nothing but exacerbating the drought, the question on everyone’s minds is: is there an end in sight? The answer: well, no, not exactly. Not just yet. And here’s why:

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As we head into next week, a strong Aleutian Low will form in the northeastern Pacific forcing a highly amplified pattern over the United States. The ridge will be squished somewhat between troughs and places like the Northern Plains states will see some relief and cooler temperatures. However, it will endure in the west. It won’t be quite as powerful as it is right now, but temperatures will likely still be above average west of the Rockies while areas east see a fairly significant cool down under an anomalous, deep-digging trough.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no rainfall in sight to help with alleviating the heat and the drought.

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This map suggests there is a near-zero chance of 0.4 inches of rain through the next week. Not something we want to see, but an unfortunate reality at this point in time.

Remember to practice heat safety during this heat wave. Heat can be a “silent killer” and often takes more lives per year than any hurricane or tornado. Older people, people with health issues, and children are especially vulnerable. Check in on your older relatives and neighbors often to make sure they have what they need to stay cool. Drink lots of water, stay as cool as possible, and avoid being outside during peak heating hours.

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