An unprecedented and unrelenting heatwave is expected to hit America’s West Coast over Labor Day weekend.
“Hundreds of heat records are likely to be broken,” said CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri Saturday, adding “some of these records stand no chance.”
The heatwave will affect about 100 million people, including residents from nearly all California and most places stretching from Arizona to Oregon, according to reports.
“The heat out West this summer, its intensity and longevity, has been nothing short of amazing,” Javaheri added.
California declared a state of emergency Friday as there were warnings that the Golden State faced historic heat and possible power outages.
The National Weather Service office in Los Angeles warned Friday of “rare, dangerous very possible deadly” heat across the region with “highs around Los Angeles” possibly hitting 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) on Saturday and Sunday.”
All predictions turned out to be ture.
In Woodland Hills, the mercury climbed to 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47.2 degrees Celsius) by 3 p.m. Saturday (2200 GMT), making it the hottest day ever recorded there in September, breaking the record of 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) set in 1979.
The mercury soared even higher to the east, with Palm Springs hitting 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) and Indio 121 degrees Fahrenheit (49.4 degrees Celsius). Officials said at least three areas tied or topped all-time record highs: Alpine, El Cajon and Idyllwild.
The temperatures were expected to climb even higher in some places on Sunday, reaching 119 degrees Fahrenheit (48.3 degrees Celsius) in Woodland Hills, and 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) in Pasadena, said David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
Even Northern California will be sweltering. Redding, a city 900 km north of Los Angeles, experienced temperatures in the triple digits, reaching 111 degrees Fahrenheit (43.9 degrees Celsius) on Saturday, and the figure could rise higher on Sunday.
Phoenix, the capital city of Arizona state, hit 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) Friday, breaking the previous record of 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) set in 1945 and 2019. The meteorologists said a dangerous heatwave would continue across much of the state as strong high pressure remains across the region and an excessive heat warning would run through Monday.
Moreover, by Tuesday, a strong trough and associated cold front will dive southbound from Canada into the northern Rockies. This will produce early snow for the northern part of America’s West, such as Wyoming and Colorado.
The National Weather Service’s Boulder office in Colorado tweeted Saturday afternoon that Denver’s temperature had ticked up to 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius), breaking the record for September, at 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 degrees Celsius) set just last year.
The weather service said at the same time snow is in the forecast for Tuesday as temperatures fall of a cliff into the 30s. Tuesday’s overnight low could be 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2.2 degrees Celsius), 73 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 degrees Celsius) colder than Saturday afternoon.
The first U.S. media outlet to sound the alarm about the extreme, summer-ending hot conditions was the Washington Post, reporting Aug. 17 that “over 56 million Americans are under some sort of heat alert … record heat, fires and severe storms plague California.”
That “plague” has not abated, but increased, as forest fires have devastated the region.
This summer, record-large wildfires have swept America’s West, with Colorado and California getting hit the worst.
The largest wildfire in Colorado state history was still smoldering Saturday. It has burned more than 140,000 acres of wilderness and is 85 percent contained, said Inciweb.
With California experiencing another devastating wildfire season, Governor Gavin Newsom’s emergency declaration on extreme heat wave also asked residents “to conserve power between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m., when demand is highest.”