The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track global 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: Heatwave Falkor Peaks
Dear Diary. With each passing day we get reports of more eye-opening hot records from long lasting historic Heatwave Falkor:
The worst of this western heat should come today and on Wednesday as our heat dome peaks around 599 decameters over Utah today and on Wednesday:
National Weather Service advisories too have peaked across the West today:
The good news is that just like a balloon popping, the heat dome in association with Falkor will rapidly shrink by Thursday and Friday:
A front moving south from Canada and a Hurricane Kay moving northward from the Baha Peninsula should put the squeeze on Heatwave Falkor.
These two changes will present their own set of problems. The front should increase winds across Northern California, increasing fire danger, while in Sothern California and other areas of the Southwest, drought could turn into deluge. Mudslides maybe reported in just a few days where record heat above the century mark currently rules the roost in the Los Angeles Basin.
Here is the latest summary from the Washington Post on record heat from Falkor that occurred over the Labor Day weekend:
Historic, unforgiving western heat wave is peaking and crushing records
California’s inland and valley regions are seeing unprecedented September temperatures over 110 degrees, while the state’s power grid is near the brink
By Matthew Cappucci and
Updated September 6, 2022 at 2:23 p.m. EDT| Published September 6, 2022 at 10:31 a.m. EDT
A pedestrian uses an umbrella as a shield from the sun while walking past power lines in Rosemead, Calif., on Aug. 31. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
A historically severe September heat wave is baking the West, breaking hundreds of records, posing a danger to public health and pushing California’s power grid to the limit. Some records have been shattered by wide margins as the scorching air mass exacerbates the fire danger in the drought-stricken region.
California’s Independent System Operator (ISO) says the state’s electric grid is under heavy strain and that rotating outages could occur unless consumers reduce their energy use even more than they have since the heat wave began a week ago.
“This is an extraordinary heat event we are experiencing, and the efforts by consumers to lean in and reduce their energy use after 4 p.m. are absolutely essential,” said Elliot Mainzer, California ISO’s president and CEO, in a news release. The agency, which declared an energy emergency alert, is predicting an all-time historic high demand of 51,033 megawatts Tuesday afternoon, surpassing its previous record of 50,270 megawatts on July 24, 2004.
The ISO is urging residents to “precool” their homes to 72 degrees Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and then turning the thermostat to 78 degrees during peak demand hours between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. It has called for such reductions on seven straight days.
During a news conference on the September heat wave, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Aug. 31 said “we’re living in an era of extremes.” (Video: The Washington Post)
The heat is historic for both its duration and intensity, evidenced by long-standing monthly and all-time records that continue to be toppled. In Sacramento, the downtown district got to 113 degrees Monday, just a degree below an all-time record set on July 17, 1975, and four degrees hotter than the previous September record. Records there date back to 1877.
On Tuesday afternoon, Sacramento is expected to jump to 115 degrees, which would be both a monthly and all-time record as well as only the 11th time in the past 145 years that the city made it to 112 degrees or higher. Fairfield, Calif., on the northeast side of the Bay Area, set an all-time record Monday of 117 degrees.
“This will be essentially the worst September heat wave on record, certainly in Northern California and arguably for the state overall,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA, in a Twitter Spaces discussion Tuesday. “By some metrics, it might be one of the worst heat waves on record period in any month, given its duration and its extreme magnitude, especially in Northern California and especially in the Sacramento region.”
A whopping 42 million Americans are under excessive heat warnings, including across most of California, northeast Arizona and adjacent southern Nevada. The Great Basin, southern Idaho and western Utah are under heat advisories.
“Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities,” wrote the National Weather Service. “[There is a] very high risk of heat stress or illness for the entire population.”
People cool off under tents equipped with misters during a heat wave in Sacramento on Sept. 4. (Laure Andrillon/Reuters)
The excessive heat is also fueling the risk for fast-moving fires.
Red flag warnings — connoting dangerous fire weather — encapsulate the entirety of Montana in addition to northern Idaho, much of Oregon and northern and eastern Washington.
A number of large wildfires have erupted over the last week in California, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The fast-moving Mill Fire, which erupted Friday in Northern California, killed two people and injured three. On Monday, two people died and another was injured by the Fairview Fire, which started near the city of Hemet, which is about 75 miles southeast of Los Angeles in Riverside County.
The National Interagency Fire Center elevated the need for national fire preparedness to level 4 out of 5 because of hot, dry and windy conditions predicted for the foreseeable future.
Hottest weather yet possible for some on Tuesday
The instigating heat dome across the western United States. (WeatherBell)
The heat will reach a blistering crescendo into Tuesday as a stagnant high pressure “heat dome” crests overhead. It’s been fending off clouds and rain and diverting the jet stream north into Canada. Beneath it, sinking air and unrelenting sunshine are delivering some of the hottest weather ever observed in the Golden State.
Outside of deserts, the worst of it has been focused in California’s Central Valley. The National Weather Service is explicitly forecasting Sacramento to reach an all-time record high of 115 degrees Tuesday. In addition to being an all-time record, that temperature would also obliterate what until Monday had been Sacramento’s monthly record for September of 109 degrees.
Some places in the Central Valley could approach 118 degrees.
“Still looking like the ongoing record-setting heat wave will peak today, but dangerous heat will likely persist through the end of the week,” wrote the Weather Service office in Sacramento on Tuesday.
The National Weather Service’s forecast for highs each day through Friday; boxes represent where records are likely to be tied or broken. (WeatherBell)
The heat traces the spine of California down to the Bay Area and Southern California too. The San Francisco airport is expected to hit 99 degrees Tuesday. Although that is staggeringly hot, Sept. 6, 2020, was hotter by three degrees. Regardless, it’s still two dozen degrees hotter than the average of 75.
Los Angeles will spend the next few days in the mid to upper 80s, but should peak around 90 on Friday. Keep in mind that’s at the airport though — just a few miles inland, highs will hover around 100 to 105 degrees.
Death Valley, Calif., has hit 124 degrees three times in the past five days. It could flirt with 126 on Tuesday, which would tie a world record for September.
The heat has been spilling east too, bringing toasty weather to Denver, with record highs in the upper 90s to near 100 projected through Thursday. Salt Lake City — which has set a September record of 104 on Monday — will continue to hover in the low 100s.
Predicted temperature difference from normal over the western United States on Wednesday by the National Weather Service. (WeatherBell)
When will the heat ease?
The heat will begin to gradually ease Thursday. Temperatures closer to average will return to much of California over the weekend, although temperatures will remain somewhat above normal over the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies.
Around that time, moisture from Hurricane Kay in the Pacific southwest of the Baja Peninsula could begin wafting northward, lowering temperatures and possibly bringing some beneficial rainfall to Southern California and even farther north. However, its specific effects on the region are highly uncertain and it could also increase the potential for dry lightning that could increase the fire risk.
Climate change connection
While extreme heat events are not caused by climate change, human influence on our atmosphere is making them more frequent, intense, prolonged and, in some cases, larger. It propels already high-end events into record territory.
Breaking records by large margins, the heat wave bears shades of the unprecedented events that torched the Pacific Northwest in June of 2021 and the United Kingdom Britain in July, both of which scientists concluded would have been virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.
Stateside, over the past week, more than 1,141 warm weather records have been set in the United States compared to just 36 cold records. If climate change wasn’t a factor, these extremes would roughly balance out.
Rundown of key records
From California to Montana, hundreds of heat records have been set since Aug. 30, and dozens more are in jeopardy over the coming days.
In addition to calendar day records, multiple locations have set monthly records and even all-time records (the warmest temperature observed in any month). We highlight some of the of most significant here:
- Downtown Sacramento set a September record high of 113 Monday, just one degree shy of its all-time high of 114 from July 17, 1925. Stockton (112), Vacaville (115) and Marysville (113) also set September record highs in California’s Central Valley.
- Fairfield, Calif., about 40 miles northeast of San Francisco, set an all-time high of 117 degrees Monday — three degrees above the previous record. Livermore set an all-time high of 116.
- Salt Lake City has broken its previous September record high three times over the past week. It hit 104 on Monday, 103 Saturday and 102 Thursday. The previous monthly record was 100. It has hit at least 100 five times this month. Before 2022, it had only done so three times during September dating to 1928.
- Reno, Nev., set a September record high of 104 on Sunday, after tying the previous monthly record of 102 on Friday.
- San Diego tied its all-time warmest low temperature on record Sunday, falling to just 78 degrees.
- Burbank, Calif., matched its all-time warmest low temperature on Sunday, only dropping to 82 degrees. On Wednesday, it set an August record high temperature of 112.
- Las Vegas set a September record high minimum temperature of 87 on Sunday.
- Casper, Wyo., set a September record high of 100 Sunday.
- On Saturday, the low temperature in Death Valley of 102 degrees tied the highest minimum temperature ever recorded worldwide during September. Death Valley has topped 120 degrees on seven straight days, setting calendar day records of 123 on Wednesday, 124 on Thursday, 124 on Friday, 122 on Saturday, and 124 on Sunday. It has established a new September record for most days reaching at least 120.
- On Saturday, many locations in the Mountain West set September record highs, including Great Falls (102), Bozeman (10o) and Butte (96) in Montana and Pocatello (102) and Idaho Falls (99) in Idaho.
- The heat even surged into western Canada on Friday, where the village of Lytton set a September record for British Columbia of 103.3 degrees (39.6 Celsius).
- Fresno, Calif. tied its September record high Friday, climbing to 111 degrees.
- Redmond, Ore., set a September record high of 106 on Friday.
Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks. Incoming Tuesday records from Falkor will be listed first:
Here is some more August and Summer 2022 climatology:
Here is more climate and weather news from Tuesday:
(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.)
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”