Major Heat Bakes the West - Fire Danger Elevated

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12 Jun 2024 4:00 PM

WEST - Another ridge of high pressure has settled over the southwestern United States bringing us more intense heat. This will include the deserts where temperatures soar into the triple digits and heat alerts are in effect through the weekend (in the case of the southern Four Corners). Excessive heat warnings (in pink) and heat advisories (in orange) have been issued from the San Joaquin/Sacramento Valley through the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Both Reno and Redding will run over 10° above average on Wednesday and this follows record heat in the city on Tuesday. The high heat has dried out grasses and shrubs meaning fire danger is elevated. A fire started in Sparks, NV (a suburb of Reno) on Tuesday night, growing quickly under hot and dry conditions.

Records are in jeopardy in Redding, Reno, South Lake Tahoe, and Bishop where highs could topple any old records we have. Of course in Southern California, the desert will be toasty, running 5-10° above normal. There is the potential to tie or break record high temperatures in Flagstaff, the L.A. metro and Las Vegas through Thursday!

Across the Four Corners, there will be sinking air associated with our dome of high pressure. That sinking air "pushes" down on the surface, heating up quickly. Temperatures will be in the high 90s on Wednesday and pushing 100 on Thursday. Albuquerque will be in record-setting territory climbing to 101° Thursday. Phoenix could break a record on Wednesday with 108° in the forecast. Temperatures start to walk back through the weekend thankfully.

The "HeatRisk" map shows many spots across the southwest under "major" heat danger on Wednesday. For reference, last Thursday (June 6) included "extreme" heat danger conditions for Las Vegas and the Mojave Desert. Although these are not quite as hot compared to last week, it will still be dangerous for those working outside, so please practice heat safety if you have to be outdoors by drinking lots of water and spending time in the shade.

The "HeatRisk" tool by NOAA considers how much above average temperatures are and the time of year to create the "risk" and aims to give a different way to view heat impacts.

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