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Northwestern US to face rising heat, increased wildfire threat next week

By Brett Rathbun, AccuWeather meteorologist
July 20, 2019, 1:20:13 AM EDT

Heat baking the southwestern United States will surge northward next week, increasing the fire danger across the region.

More than 200 million in the eastern two-thirds of the nation will swelter in very hot and humid conditions into this weekend.

However, a pattern change is foreseen as July progresses.

As the jet stream drops southward across the eastern half of the nation, it will lift northward across the West, allowing the current heat in the Southwest to gradually follow suit into next week.

"A dome of high pressure in the upper levels of the atmosphere will set up over the Intermountain West, setting the stage for above-average temperatures to surge northward," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.

Pattern next week


The rise in high temperatures will be most noticeable across the Pacific Northwest as this region has had a lack of very warm days since the middle of June due to occasional cloud cover and showers.

Since June 13, Seattle has had only five days of high temperatures reaching or exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Seattle has also exceeded their normal monthly rainfall in just the first 15 days.

Temperatures will trend upward this weekend before peaking next week.

High temperatures can reach the middle 80s in Seattle to near 90 in Portland on one or multiple days. Some interior locations, such as Boise, Idaho, could crack 100 F.


Highs from Seattle to Portland will likely fall shy of the excessive heat that occurred from June 11-12, when temperatures reached the mid- to upper 90s.

While the region will not deal with the oppressive humidity as those across the eastern half of the nation, time outdoors should still be limited to the morning or evening hours, if possible. Be sure to remain hydrated and take frequent breaks if engaging in strenuous outdoor activities.

The use of air conditioners will be on the rise, leading to increased power demands.

Relief from the heat will be found along the coastal beaches.

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Scattered monsoonal thunderstorm activity will be on the increase next week across the interior West.

"As the monsoon season begins to ramp up, the risk for dry lightning becomes a serious issue," Buckingham said.

The risk for dry lightning, combined with the high heat, will lead to increased fire danger. Numerous fires continue to burn across the West. A high concentration of fires are burning across the Four Corners states and in the mountains of eastern and Northern California.

The Woodbury Fire in Arizona, east of Phoenix, is now 100% contained after burning more than 123,000 acres.

Residents should follow all fire restrictions in the area and properly dispose cigarette butts to prevent sparking a fire.

While some relief in the warmth may be in sight across the Pacific Northwest, the heat should continue through the end of the month across the interior.

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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