On Monday, dozens of daily records were broken as Temperatures Climbing into the 90s and triple digits across the Western United States, reaching all the way north to the Canadian border.
Denver reached 101 degrees, while Helena, Montana’s capital, reached a scorching 104 degrees. Salt Lake City and Billings, Montana, both set records by breaking them by 5 degrees or more. The fact that many were obliterated by large margins speaks to the intensity of the heat that’s baking that part of the country. Record highs are typically broken by 1 or 2 degrees, so the fact that many were obliterated by large margins speaks to the intensity of the heat that’s baking that part of the country.
And there’s no sign of relief in sight, as the severe heat in the West will only get worse and more widespread over the next few days.
More than 50 million people in the United States were under heat warnings and watches on Tuesday, as triple-digit temperatures and bone-dry humidity engulfed the West for the rest of the week. In some areas, highs might reach 30 degrees above average, with over 200 daily record highs likely by the end of the week.
Both the afternoon highs cooked in the sun and the midnight lows that refuse to cool off will be included in the records that fall. Monthly and all-time highs might be included in the records.
Temperatures as high as 125 to 127 degrees Fahrenheit, for example, could scorch parts of the arid Southwest, threatening the month’s all-time highs. The situation has deteriorated to the point that power system operators in California and Texas are asking citizens to save energy in order to avert rolling blackouts as a result of the heatwave.
This is especially alarming for Texas, as the warmest days of the year are still to come. Temperatures in the Lone Star State reach their highest point climatologically during the month of August.
Even “escape” to the mountains will not provide comfort. Grand Junction, Colorado, at 4,500 feet, may set a 105-degree record by Thursday; Denver, at 5,280 feet, might set a 97-degree record; and Flagstaff, Arizona, at 6,900 feet, may set a 91-degree record.
As the fire risk rises to catastrophic levels, almost 4 million people are still under red flag warnings, and these warnings are anticipated to grow as the extreme temperatures and strong winds continue to blanket the West for the rest of the week.