Dangerously hot conditions and triple-digit temperatures are forecast for the Western United States this week, leading to a wave of excessive-heat warnings and heat advisories from Central California and Nevada up to Washington.
Temperatures reached 108 degrees on Tuesday and were forecast to hit 107 on Wednesday in the San Joaquin Valley in the center of California, according to the National Weather Service. While temperatures in Fresno were 16 to 18 degrees above normal for this time of year, they fell short of breaking records. The high in Fresno on Tuesday was 104.
In Redding, in Northern California, temperatures reached 106 on Tuesday, a day after peaking at 109 and breaking the previous record of 103 set in 2016, meteorologists said. An excessive-heat warning will remain in place over portions of the valley and foothills through Wednesday with highs between the upper 90s and 105.
In Nevada, Las Vegas saw its first 100-degree day of the year on Monday, followed by another triple-digit day — 103 — on Tuesday. Areas around the city and just across the California state line in Death Valley will be under an excessive heat warning from Wednesday morning through Friday night, the Weather Service said. Temperatures may climb up to 118 in Death Valley.
A heat advisory is also in effect through Thursday night for the central and southeastern portion of Washington, including the towns of Clarkston, Pomeroy and Bridgeport, the Weather Service said. High temperatures could reach the lower 100s. Similar sweltering conditions are forecast for portions of Western Oregon.
Seattle reached a high of 86 degrees on Tuesday, falling short of the 94-degree daily record. However, the city has reached the mid-80s on June 1 only four percent of the time over the past 75 years.
Hot weather is also forecast for Montana over Wednesday and Thursday with high temperatures climbing into the upper 80s and upper 90s. High temperatures could reach 15 to 25 degrees above normal, meteorologists said.
Warmer-than-average temperatures have been the trend in recent memory. Last year tied 2016 as the hottest year on record, according to European climate researchers. To complicate matters, a severe drought is ravaging the entire western half of the United States, from the Pacific Coast, across the Great Basin and desert Southwest, and up through the Rockies to the Northern Plains.
Meteorologists have advised residents to stay hydrated, wear light clothing when outside, limit outdoor exposure and be mindful of any signs of heat related-illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Older adults and children are the most vulnerable, the Weather Service said.
A recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change suggested that more than a third of heat-related deaths in many parts of the world can be attributed to the extra warming associated with climate change. The research found that heat-related deaths in warm seasons were boosted by climate change by an average of 37 percent, in a range of a 20 to 76 percent increase.
Claire Fahy contributed reporting.