From the Central Valley of California to the deserts of California and Arizona and north into parts of Utah and Nevada, heat has been the main weather story for days. Records have been established. Both Fresno and Bakersfield, California, hit 110 F for the first time this year on Monday also setting records for the day. Phoenix also hit 110 F Monday and Las Vegas has been running 7-9 degrees above normal for the past four days.
The ridge that has caused this heat started to break down Tuesday in California allowing at least some cooling to get into the Central Valley. Well cooling is probably not the best word to use here. Let's just say it wasn’t quite as hot. Highs Tuesday have been running 5 to 10 degrees below the extreme heat of Monday. More cooling is likely through Thursday, and the drop in temperatures to more normal early June heat is likely to spread into Nevada and Arizona over the next few days as well.
This map shows the 500 mb height anomaly over the next five days. Basically if you are in the red, heights are averaging higher than normal and one can typically expect warmer-than-normal temperatures. In the blue, heights are below normal and temperatures tend to run cooler than normal.
California and the Southwest being in the white means near-normal heights and thus near-normal temperatures. If you live in the Northwest, a cooler-than-normal pattern is in you future, probably starting on Friday.
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Dangerous heat will build across the Southwest through the middle of next week putting some records in jeopardy.
Parts of the West will bake in the heat over the next few days but cooler weather will arrive by the start of the weekend.
Models have been consistent on bringing a rigorous system from the Northwest to the Southwest this weekend.
The pattern next week will favor unsettled and cool weather for the Northwest.
Rain and mountain snow will highlight just about every day this week in the Northwest.