Intense Heat to Scorch Drought-Stricken West

By By Andy Mussoline, Meteorologist
September 12, 2015, 5:54:43 PM EDT

Searing heat will expand across the West through the remainder of this week, giving much of California a dose of above-normal temperatures.

"After a stretch of cooler weather last week, the heat is on this week in much of central and southern California," Senior Meteorologist and Western U.S. Expert Ken Clark said.

Southwest Extended Regional Weather Forecast


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The highest departures from normal will be across the West Coast states. Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego will be among a host of other cities that will feel the heat.

"Hot weather will last much of this week, even near the coast, with coastal areas in the 90s and triple digits in the valleys," Clark said. "However, the hot weather will have trouble breaking records in major cities as records this time of year are quite high."


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Los Angeles will have AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures peak in the lower 100s through at least Thursday, while San Francisco peaks in the upper 80s.

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Normal highs for this time of the year are 84 F in Los Angeles and 74 in San Francisco.

Farther north, Oregon will not escape the heat. Portland, Oregon, will have highs surging into the 90s on Friday. Across the interior West, it will be hot, but departures from normal will not be as extreme.

In Utah, the West Point Fire continued to rage, and Benjamin Hager, a multimedia journalist for the Standard-Examiner in Ogden, was able to capture the rare image of a tornado twirling next to the blaze.


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A high pressure system strengthening across the West is responsible for the heat this week.

Strenuous activity or extended periods of time spent outdoors during the afternoon should be avoided. Those planning outdoor activities should drink plenty of water, seek shade and wear plenty of sunscreen.

The dry and hot conditions will keep wildfire risks elevated in the region. Residents and travelers should heed all fire safety guidelines amid the heat.

Moisture From Linda to Narrowly Miss Hardest-Hit Drought Areas


As heat expands across the West, especially California, moisture from Tropical Storm Linda will narrowly miss the hardest-hit drought areas.

"While Linda will not directly affect southern California weather, the flow between it and an upper-level high pressure system to the east will help to bring tropical monsoon moisture northward," Clark said.


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"Monsoon moisture will lead to scattered showers and thunderstorms through Thursday, especially in the deserts and mountain regions."

The surge of moisture can bring localized flooding in the region. Anyone encountering water-covered roadways should turn around and find an alternate route.

While no rain may fall in the immediate area, thunderstorms in the distance can quickly fill typically dry creeks or river beds. These areas can turn into a raging river of water with little or no warning.

Those camping or hiking across the Southwest this week should be aware of this threat and be aware of their surroundings to these dry river beds.

While the rain will pose a flood threat, it can bring some beneficial rain to southern California and Arizona, both of which remain in a drought.

However, the rain will bypass the hardest-hit drought areas of southern and central California.

By next weekend, the heat and thunderstorm risk will fade across the region.

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