Wildfire danger to remain high as heat wave persists into September
August 29, 2017
• Temperatures in Central Valley to soar past 110 degrees
• “Another significant wave of heat will develop for California … during Labor Day weekend into the first week of September”
What’s the difference between Fresno and the Mojave Desert? About two degrees.
The heart of the San Joaquin Valley is expected to see temperatures on Tuesday of as high as 112 degrees, the National Weather Service says. That’s almost as toasty as the Mojave Desert portions of Kern County where the mercury may get to 114 degrees.
But it’s not just the Central Valley that is in the oven again this summer.
A large portion of the western United States will continue to endure high heat, an elevated wildfire danger and poor air quality into the first week of September, says the private weather forecasting company AccuWeather Inc.
The magnitude and duration of the heat will be unusual for this time of year, given that average temperatures start to quickly trend downward heading into September.
Temperatures will range between 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit above average across a majority of the West, AccuWeather predicts.
“California and the Desert Southwest will be very hot into the weekend, with California’s Central Valley staying in the triple digits,” says AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston.
Daytime temperatures in the 100s and 110s will be common from Phoenix to Las Vegas and Palm Springs. Downtown Los Angeles will spend the rest of the week baking in near triple-digit heat.
“To put this in perspective, late-August normals are 105 in Palm Springs, 85 in downtown Los Angeles, 100 in Las Vegas and 104 in Phoenix,” Mr. Boston says.
It may get worse before it gets better.
“Another significant wave of heat will develop for California, the Great Basin and Pacific Northwest during Labor Day weekend into the first week of September,” Mr. Boston says.
The National Weather Service office in Hanford says there is the strong possibility that Fresno and Bakersfield – and points beyond – will see daily highs of 100 degrees or more for the next ten days to two weeks.
The coolest day of the week, at least for the northern parts of the Valley, might be Wednesday when the high is expected to be a still-toasty 99.
As temperatures remain steadily above normal over the interior Northwest and Southwest, coastal Washington and Oregon will be subject to a wave of cooler air significantly trimming the heat at midweek.
Temperatures in Seattle and Portland are likely to soar back to near 90 and 100, respectively.
The spotty thunderstorms that will blossom over the Intermountain West through this week will likely diminish for the holiday weekend, which is good news for those with plans to fire up the barbecue or cook out.
However, the continued dry, hot weather will feed ongoing wildfires and threaten to trigger new ones. A smoky haze will shroud the sky wherever a fire is burning or downwind of a blaze.