Dangerous heatwave to bring extreme heat to parts of the West this week into the holiday weeken

A late-season heatwave is expected beginning this week, continuing into the holiday weekend for parts of the western United States. This heatwave will be unusually strong given the time. of year, and is expected to bring extreme heat for a prolonged period of time, potentially breaking daily high-temperature records as a strong upper area of high pressure builds over the region.

The area of high pressure will continue to build and intensify through the week into the upcoming week over the West. This will skyrocket temperatures to well above average for the region. Because of the high temperatures, local National Weather Service offices have issued numerous heat alerts (Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories) across California, Arizona, and Nevada, and even extending into Oregon and Washington, where tens of millions will experience the dangerous heat through at least the holiday weekend.

Current heat alerts for the West
Heat products for West

The hottest most extreme temperatures will be felt over the holiday weekend across the Desert Southwest where temperatures will be in the 100s (100-110). A few areas in inland southern California could see temperatures approach 120-125 degrees. Farther north into the Pacific & Inland Northwest, temperatures won't be as extreme and the heat wave won't be as prolonged, but temperatures will still climb into the 90s and some 100s.

Excessive Heat Warning, Excessive Heat Watch, Heat Advisory

The local NWS offices issue heat alerts to help alert and protect the public. This is what each heat product means.

  • Excessive Heat Warning—Take Action! An Excessive Heat Warning is issued within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions. The general rule of thumb for this Warning is when the maximum heat index temperature is expected to be 105° or higher for at least 2 days and night time air temperatures will not drop below 75°; however, these criteria vary across the country, especially for areas not used to extreme heat conditions. If you don't take precautions immediately when conditions are extreme, you may become seriously ill or even die.

  • Excessive Heat Watches—Be Prepared! Heat watches are issued when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 24 to 72 hours. A Watch is used when the risk of a heat wave has increased but its occurrence and timing is still uncertain.

  • Heat Advisory—Take Action! A Heat Advisory is issued within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions. The general rule of thumb for this Advisory is when the maximum heat index temperature is expected to be 100° or higher for at least 2 days, and night time air temperatures will not drop below 75°; however, these criteria vary across the country, especially for areas that are not used to dangerous heat conditions. Take precautions to avoid heat illness. If you don't take precautions, you may become seriously ill or even die.

  • Excessive Heat Outlooks—Be Aware! The outlooks are issued when the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3-7 days. An Outlook provides information to those who need considerable lead-time to prepare for the event.

Heat Safety Tips

Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. Heat can be very taxing on the body; check out the heat related illnesses that can occur with even a short period of exposure. Everyone can be vulnerable to heat, but some more so than others. According to The Impacts Of Climate Change On Human Health In The United States: A Scientific Assessment the following groups are particularly vulnerable to heat; check in with friends and relatives who fall in one of these populations, especially if they don’t have air conditioning.

  1. Young children and infants are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness and death, as their bodies are less able to adapt to heat than are adults.
  2. Older adults, particularly those with pre existing diseases, take certain medications, are living alone or with limited mobility who are exposed to extreme heat can experience multiple adverse effects.
  3. People with chronic medical conditions are more likely to have a serious health problem during a heat wave than healthy people.
  4. Pregnant women are also at higher risk. Extreme heat events have been associated with adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm birth, and infant mortality, as well as congenital cataracts.

It is NEVER safe to leave a child, disabled person or pet locked in a car, even in the winter. If you have a toddler in your household, lock your cars, even in your own driveway. Kids play in cars or wander outside and get into a car and can die in 10 minutes! A reported 25 children died in hot cars in 2020. To see the latest information for 2021, go to this link. Deaths routinely are reported as early as April and tragedies continue into December in southern states.