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Potential Record-Breaking Temperatures in California Elevating Wildfire Risk

2 weeks ago
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Temperatures are building across the western U.S., setting up the first official heat wave of the season. The incoming heat will also raise the risk of wildfire danger across the region. Read on for the details of how hot you should expect it to get.

First Heat Wave of the Season Bearing Down on the Western U.S.

The first widespread heat wave for the West is now underway and is expected to linger through the end of the week. The heat and associated dry conditions will inevitably raise the risk of wildfire danger in this part of the country.

The unseasonably warm weather is the result of a northward bulge in the jet stream pairing with an area of high pressure circulating throughout most levels of the atmosphere. A storm that is remaining offshore of the California coastline will keep the heat anchored over the region and the showers and thunderstorms well out to sea.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a heat wave is defined as a period of unseasonably hot temperatures lasting over two days. The first heat wave of the year can be particularly dangerous as it often catches people off guard. It is important to take the time to get acclimated to the heat before spending prolonged periods of time outside.

How hot will it get? Forecasters are warning that some areas of the California Central Valley will challenge daily high records starting Tuesday. For instance, the daily high record of 103 degrees for Sacramento dates back to 1935. The capital city of California is forecast to hit right about this level during the peak afternoon heating hours with mostly sunny skies helping to push the real feel readings even higher.

The interior portion of the San Joaquin valley is predicted to take the brunt of the heat in the coming days. Fresno is expected to hit 105 degrees on Wednesday through Friday, coming within striking distance of daily record highs set in 1903.

Neither Sacramento or Fresno have topped the century mark yet this year. Both cities reached a high of 96 degrees just a few days ago on May 31.


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