Snow to record heat, wild weather swings to jolt West
Afternoon temperatures could reach record levels into this weekend in the West, a stark reversal from the recent cool weather.
Hot weather and accompanying gusty winds could elevate the fire risk across the western U.S.
Record-high temperatures are in store for the West into this weekend. The hot weather will be more typical of summer and a notable change from the recent cold spell, which brought the first snow of the season for many residents in the Rockies, AccuWeather meteorologists say.
As the jet stream continues to nudge northward into western Canada over the coming days, an amplified area of high pressure will gain influence over the Western states into this weekend, ushering much warmer air in the Pacific Northwest, California, Arizona and the Rocky Mountain states.
Snow fell in Utah’s mountains on Oct. 2, as ski resorts across the state geared up for the beginning of the season starting in November.
"Temperatures will run well above historical averages through the weekend over much of the region thanks to a large area of high pressure aloft that is sitting over the eastern Pacific," explained AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Heather Zehr.
Daily records could be at risk
A large portion of the West will observe high temperatures trending between 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit above early-October historical averages. A few daily record highs will be at risk for locations such as Portland, Oregon, and Seattle and Quillayute, Washington.
On Saturday, high temperatures in Portland got up to 85 F, breaking the daily record temperature of 83 F set back in 2014 by two degrees. The warmth over the next day will be a noticeable difference compared to the 60-degree conditions observed at the start of the week.
In Seattle, temperatures reached 79 F on Saturday. This broke the daily record temperature of 77 F set just last year.
Quillayute, Washington broke daily records on Friday and Saturday when temperatures soared to the 84 and 80 degree mark respectively. This broke the old records of 82 on Friday and 75 on Saturday. The Saturday record was broken by five degrees.
Even overnight temperatures will remain relatively high for this time of year across the West Coast. Numerous locations from California to Washington will be challenging the record-high minimum temperatures from late in the week into the weekend.
An enhanced offshore flow along the West coast
Forecasters warn that the elevated temperatures combined with largely dry conditions could spell trouble for ongoing wildfires in the West. However, another factor could add even more to the elevated fire risk: wind.
Offshore winds will not be as strong as they were at midweek, but local breezes into the weekend can cause existing fires to flare up.
Most of active wildfires across California are currently burning across northwestern counties of Northern California.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there were multiple active fires across Oregon and across Olympic National Park in Washington.
Cooler air to progress next week
By the end of the weekend into early next week, cooler air will spill back into the West as high pressure breaks down across the region. Conditions from Northern California to Washington are expected to drop back closer to historical averages later next week.
Wet weather will return to the region late Sunday into Monday as a cold front is expected to plunge into the Northwest. By the middle of next week, this feature can spread pockets of steady rain along the coast and chances for high-elevation snowflakes over the northern Rocky Mountains.
“Despite a cooling trend this weekend to early next week in much of Southern California, highs will still be 5-10 degrees above the historical average of 80 in downtown Los Angeles,” Houk said.
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