The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: Detailing Heatwave Alpha (Day 3)
Dear Diary. Western Heatwave Alpha has already begun to set some amazing records, some being of the extremely rare all-time maximum variety. For example, on Tuesday 6/15 Salt Lake City tied an all-time record of 107°F. Today some of the worse hot conditions will spread westward into parched California.
I’m praying that the other shoe doesn’t drop, which would be large fires damaging suburban or even urban areas, causing loss of life. We will all cross our fingers and hope that I won’t be reporting any tragedies the next few days during the height of Alpha.
Here are some of the latest details about Alpha from the Washington Post:
US West swelters in record-busting heat, risking wildfires
A pedestrian takes a bottle of water at a Salvation Army hydration station during a heatwave as temperatures hit 115-degrees, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)By Anita Snow | APJune 15, 2021 at 5:44 p.m. PDT1
PHOENIX — Dangerous, record-busting heat spread across the U.S. Southwest on Tuesday and into parts of Utah, Montana and Wyoming as a dome of high pressure hovered over a large swath of the region, pushing temperatures into the triple digits this week and intensifying the risk for wildfires amid a long-running drought.
Some of the highest temperatures were seen in bone-dry Arizona, where the National Weather Service forecast a record high of 117 degrees (47 degrees Celsius) in Phoenix. The previous high for the date was 115 degrees (46 Celsius), set in 1974.
“It is kind of early to see temperatures this high, that’s for sure,” said Marvin Percha, senior forecaster at the weather service’s Phoenix office.
Percha said the high pressure dome combined with the land’s lack of moisture caused by extreme drought has combined to create blistering heat expected throughout the entire week.
“What is unusual is the strength and the duration” of the high pressure system, he said.
The temperatures in Phoenix also could break records the rest of the week, with highs expected to reach 116 Wednesday and 118 Thursday and Friday.
Stations where people can get water and cool off in the shade opened across the Phoenix metro area at Salvation Army posts, city swimming pools, libraries and community centers. They will operate during the day amid the excessive heat warning declared by the weather service.
People were warned to stay inside, drink plenty of water and not leave children or pets unattended in vehicles.
The excessive heat stretched from southeast California across Arizona and Nevada and into New Mexico, where a high of 103 degrees (39 Celsius) Monday at Albuquerque’s airport set a record. It was expected to hit near that Tuesday.
Palmdale, in Southern California’s Mojave Desert, hit 107 degrees (41.6 Celsius), breaking a record of 105 set in 1966.
“More records are at risk tomorrow,” the National Weather Service for Los Angeles tweeted.
Salt Lake City set a heat record for the second day in a row, hitting 107 degrees Tuesday to tie its hottest temperature ever recorded, the weather service said. On Monday, Utah’s capital reached 103 degrees to break a heat record for that date set nearly 50 years ago.
Some people cooled off at the Great Salt Lake outside Salt Lake City, floating in the water or playing along the shoreline.
Temperatures in the Las Vegas area also were rising toward possible records during what the weather service was calling the hottest spell in decades.
“It’s just going up from here,” said meteorologist Ashley Nickerson of the weather service’s Las Vegas office.
The heat wave smashed daily temperature records in Montana and Wyoming and complicated the fight against several large wildfires. Strong winds with gusts up to 35 miles (56 kilometers) per hour were expected, threatening to stir up wildfires already burning and make it hard to stamp out new blazes.
A wildfire that broke out Monday near Yellowstone National Park in Montana grew quickly overnight and had burned more than 3 square miles (8 square kilometers) by Tuesday morning, according to the Custer Gallatin National Forest. Some people in the rural area were told to flee their homes, while other fires in the state also forced some evacuations.
Montana cities like Billings and Livingston and the Wyoming city of Sheridan at the base of the Bighorn Mountains set daily heat records, sometimes reaching as high as 108 degrees (42 Celsius).
“This is happening in the middle of June. This is unprecedented,” said Bill Murrell, a weather service meteorologist in Riverton, Wyoming.
The heat wave hit at the start of the Southwest’s annual monsoon season, which runs through Sept. 30 and is supposed to be the region’s rainy period, often contributing as much as 60% of annual precipitation.
But last year’s monsoon was the driest in recorded history, with an average of just 1.5 inches (4 centimeters) of rain in Arizona.
Percha, the forecaster in Phoenix, said June is Arizona’s driest month and that the state doesn’t usually start seeing some rain until early July.
Associated Press writers Mead Gruver in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Matthew Brown in Billings, Montana, and AP/Report for America corps member Sophia Eppolito in Salt Lake City contributed to this report.
A Washington Post update from Wednesday afternoon:
Excessive heat warnings blanket the West, where several days more of heat are likely before some relief arrives into the weekend. Here are some of the records that fell Tuesday:
- Salt Lake City hit 107 degrees, tying its hottest temperature ever recorded year-round and establishing a record for June.
- Denver made it to 101 degrees, breaking the daily record of 97 set in 1952 and 1993.
- Billings, Mont., made it to 108 degrees, tying the city’s hottest temperature recorded, on July 14, 2002.
- Laramie, Wyo., soared to 94 degrees, while Sheridan hit 107, both matching their highest temperatures on record.
- Casper, Wyo., hit 101 degrees, nabbing a new daily record by a whopping 8 degrees. It’s also its hottest temperature observed on record so early in the year.
- Death Valley, Calif., logged a high of 124.1 degrees, the highest temperature in the Lower 48 this year; Needles, Calif., made it to 121, setting a new daily record, and Palm Springs, Calif., to 120, topping its daily record by 4 degrees.
- Las Vegas snagged a high of 114 degree, falling just a bit short of the record of 116, seen in 1940.
- Phoenix hit 115 degrees, tying a daily record high set in 1974. A very diffuse, thin veil of smoke from the nearby Telegraph Fire probably reduced the temperature by a degree or two below what was originally forecast.
Here are some of Wednesday’s “ET’s:”
Today I will be adding notes about this heat wave in the space below:
Here is more climate and weather news from Wednesday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”