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A record heat wave exacerbates the drought in the western United States.

2021-06-18T09:22:41.910Z

High temperature records are expected to break this week across much of the western US, worsening drought and fire conditions.



Hoover Dam is at its lowest water level 0:34

(CNN) -

There is danger that all-time high-temperature records will be broken this week as a dangerous heat wave ravages much of the western United States, an area that already begs for moisture due to the exceptional drought.

"Record temperatures will only continue the vicious cycle that so often occurs in droughts, where hot, cloudless skies lead to increased evaporation of what little water remains in lakes and rivers," said the CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.

"This, in turn, makes the drought worse."

The most recent drought monitoring released on June 10 categorizes most of the southwestern US as experiencing extreme to exceptional drought conditions.

The strong heat looming this week will only make things worse.

"This is a clear sign of climate change, where rising temperatures will drive this vicious cycle, especially in places like the western US, where rainfall has declined markedly," says Miller.

All-time high temperature records will be tied or broken

At least 12 states are included in a heat-related advisory, watch or advisory, as temperatures above 37 ° C threaten to break previous records from California to the Northern Rocky Mountains.

There are excessive heat alerts even in Montana.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Billings predicts that high temperatures on Monday and Tuesday will exceed 37.7 ° C and break all-time records set as early as 1918 in Sheridan.


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The highest temperature ever recorded in Billings could be reached on Tuesday: 42.2 ° C, reported on July 14, 2002.

"We have some winds and if it's enough, we could have some warmer temperatures that blend in and that could propel us above the mark," NWS Billings meteorologist Aaron Gilstad said of the possibility of breaking the record.

The scorching conditions will also affect the southwestern desert, bringing extreme heat to areas already known for their extremely hot summer days.

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“Excess heat warnings / alerts are in effect for many areas of the Southwest and Central Valley of California next week, with temperatures easily reaching 43 ° C in the lower deserts, with temperature lows between 26 ° C and 32 ° C, ”said the Weather Prediction Center (CPC) in its extended forecast discussion.


The southwestern desert is known for its scorching temperatures, but Nevada and Arizona could break all-time high-temperature records later this week.

“There are many records that have the potential to be broken.

Las Vegas will start with its all-time high of 47.2 degrees Celsius, ”said NWS Las Vegas meteorologist Ashley Nickerson.

"We have the potential to achieve that, especially on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday."

Las Vegas has tied its all-time high of 47.2 ° C four times: July 24, 1942, July 19, 2005, June 30, 2013, and June 20, 2017. The highest temperature ever set in Nevada was 51.6 ° C, recorded in Laughlin on June 29, 1994.

Numerous all-time records are in jeopardy this week.


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The state of Nevada's all-time record is 125F set in Laughlin, and the state of Arizona's all-time record is 128F set in Lake Havasu City.

These records have the potential tie or break.

How will YOU prepare? #NvWx #AzWx pic.twitter.com/dE1X1tKtV3

- NWS Las Vegas (@NWSVegas) June 14, 2021

In Las Vegas, elevated temperatures of 5.5 ° to 8 ° C above average could exceed a series of record daily highs set from June 12-19, 1940. An excessive heat advisory will be in effect until Saturday and the NWS Las Vegas is warning residents that this is not your typical desert heat.

Phoenix will record the largest rise in average temperatures so far this month, more than 5 degrees above normal.

Afternoon temperatures in south-central Arizona could reach 43.8 ° C to 48.3 ° C.

  • The area around the Arizona wildfires is so dry that heavy firefighting equipment is causing small flames

According to the National Weather Service, the highest temperature ever recorded at an official NWS weather observation site was 53.3 ° C on June 29, 1994, in Lake Havasu City.

Little relief in sight for drought

Drought engulfs the western United States

Meteorologists fear that the exceptional drought conditions observed in the western states could cause serious fires.

The data is communicated weekly.

Map updated on Thursday June 10 and represents the analysis of Tuesday June 8.


Source: US Drought Monitor


Chart: John Keefe, CNN

Parched soil and undergrowth in the West due to extremely dry conditions and high temperatures have led to exceptional drought in a dozen states.

There is no relief on the horizon, as the heat wave intensifies throughout the week.

“Most of our area is in exceptional drought.

Obviously, high temperatures and continuous drought conditions are not going to help this situation.

For example, (Lake) Mead has reached some of its lowest levels that it has ever reached, without any rain or thaw, which will continue until hopefully we get a lot more rain, ”Nickerson said.

Lake Mead is a reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam just outside of Las Vegas.

It is located along the Colorado River and supplies water to many downstream cities.

About 25 million people in various states depend on the lake for drinking water, irrigation and energy.

It takes a lot of rain to end droughts, especially in conditions as extreme as those in the Southwest.

Every year the region relies on monsoon rains to quench the land's thirst.

Monsoon Awareness Week started on June 13, but the monsoon has yet to make its appearance.

The CPC's monthly forecast for June shows that drought conditions and low humidity persist.

Wildfires intensify as the danger of more fires continues

Along with the worsening drought, concern about the threat of fires will continue to rise this week.

The situation is critical in eastern Nevada and western Utah through Wednesday, as winds pick up and relative humidity values ​​remain in the single digits.

Elevated fire conditions spread through Nevada and Utah through the middle of the week, where temperatures will also be close to breaking records.

Salt Lake City's NWS forecasts Tuesday temperatures to tie June's all-time record at 40.5 ° C, approaching the highest ever recorded temperature of 41.6 ° C, measured on July 26, 1960, and July 13, 1960. July 2002.

Alert in California and Arizona for fires and droughts 1:08

Through Tuesday night there is a red alert for central Nevada and eastern Utah due to the winds, extremely low relative humidity values ​​and dry fuel.

Fires that start in the suffocating conditions have enough fuel to spread rapidly due to the dry brush.

The lack of humidity has allowed little growth, and the existing vegetation has dried considerably due to the current drought.

Arizona, Utah and New Mexico already have large fires with smoke reaching as far north as Colorado and Wyoming.

The Telegraph fire in Arizona, which burns more than 35,612 hectares, is now 74% contained.

To the east, the Mescal fire is 88% contained after burning more than 29,137 hectares.

Drought Temperature

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2021-06-18

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