Heat to expand northward over interior northwestern US early this week
By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
July 23, 2019, 2:56:01 AM EDT
The seasonable weather that has dominated the northwestern United States earlier this month has been replaced with surging heat.
The heat will have people cranking up air conditioners that may have had little use up to this point and flocking to coastal areas, the higher terrain or local pools.
"The area has generally been running pretty close to average this month [prior to early this week] without any major bouts of heat, so it seems like we're overdue for a warmup," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and western U.S. blogger Brian Thompson said.
A flip in the weather pattern is allowing heat to surge northward over the interior West early this week, while residents in the Midwest and Northeast catch a break from oppressive conditions.
"This will not be a setup that brings heat into Seattle and Portland, Oregon," Thompson added.
High temperatures will trend downward through Tuesday from their peak of 91 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland and Seattle on Sunday.
At the same time, temperatures will crank up east of the Cascades toward the northern Rockies, according to Thompson.
Temperatures are forecast to be 5-10 degrees above normal in these areas.
Boise, Idaho, finally hit the century mark for the first time this year on Monday as the mercury soared to 102 F. High temperatures on Tuesday should be slightly lower but still reach the middle to upper 90s.
Highs in the lower 90s will have residents in Spokane, Washington, and Missoula and Great Falls, Montana, seeking ways to cool down through Tuesday.
"The impending heat will come after Great Falls set a record low when temperatures dropped to 38 F on Sunday morning," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski. "That was the lowest temperature recorded in July since 1999."
The heat is expected to fall short of breaking daily record highs in many locations.
Salt Lake City will be the one exception to this rule. The city fell just short of tying the record high of 104 on Monday but will have another chance to tie the record high of 104, set back in 2003, on Tuesday.
"The use of air conditioners will be on the rise, leading to increased power demands," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.
People are reminded to never leave children or pets in a sealed vehicle even for a short amount of time as the temperature can quickly rise to lethal levels.
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The heat and low humidity will also create a higher fire danger.
The latest outlook from the United States Drought Monitor shows a sizable area from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies in abnormally dry to severe drought conditions.
These dry conditions, combined with the heat and localized winds, can create a conducive environment for any spark to ignite and quickly spread into a wildfire.
"The wind overall should not be that strong, but it can be locally gusty," Thompson said.
The gustiest winds are expected around midweek as cooler air pushes in from the Pacific Ocean.
High temperatures are forecast to drop as much as 10-15 degrees behind this cool push.
Download the free AccuWeather app for more details on temperature trends in your community. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
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