Northern Plains to sizzle in brief but intense heat wave this weekend

By Kyle Elliott, AccuWeather meteorologist
August 13, 2018, 2:50:10 AM EDT

A piece of the impressive heat dome that scorched the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies this past week will briefly shift eastward into the northern Plains this weekend.

This bubble of heat has already been responsible for shattering record highs in the northern Rockies -- and more record highs will be in jeopardy farther east this weekend.

“Boise, Idaho, reached 110 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday, falling just shy of its all-time record high temperature of 111 F, set on July 19, 1960,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.

The temperature in Boise reached 104 on Saturday, setting a new daily record high for the city. On Sunday however, temperatures are expected to reach normal levels in the low 90s.

The storm system responsible for the big cooldown in the Pacific Northwest this weekend is responsible for dragging the heat into the northern Plains along its southern flank.

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“Winds high up in the atmosphere will transport wildfire smoke from California and the Pacific Northwest eastward, leading to poor air quality and hazy, smoky skies in the northern Plains this weekend,” Rathbun said.

Record heat will be replaced by more seasonable temperatures on Sunday for places like Great Falls, Montana and Boise, Idaho.

Temperatures for Billings and Great Falls, Montana, and Salt Lake City will peel back by 5-15 degrees on Sunday.

While the northern Rockies will have more normal temperatures on Sunday, the Dakotas will be basking in the hottest weather.

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Bismarck and Minot, North Dakota, are both forecast to challenge or break 40-year old records on Sunday as high temperatures soar into the lower 100s.

Fortunately, the extreme heat will be accompanied by low humidity, so AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures should not stray too far from the actual air temperature.

Regardless, the combination of blazing heat and poor air quality from wildfire smoke will create a dangerous situation for sensitive groups and those engaging in prolonged, outdoor activities.

Remember to drink plenty of fluids, limit exposure to the blazing sunshine and take frequent breaks in an air-conditioned facility to reduce the risk of heat-related illness.

“A push of cooler air behind the storm system will trim the heat across the northern Plains early this week, with high temperatures returning to the 80s across most of the Dakotas by Tuesday and Wednesday,” Rathbun said.

For residents hoping for a prolonged break from the heat, a long stretch of pleasant conditions may still be a week or two away.

The heat dome will bulge back northward during the middle to end of next week, but the heat should not be quite as extreme as recent high temperatures, Rathbun said.

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