'Even more extreme': Blistering heat to roast California, other Western states this week
SAN FRANCISCO — Western states are about to feel what it has been like in scorching California the last few days – minus the beaches.
The extreme heat that broiled the drought-ravaged Golden State over the Labor Day weekend will continue for much of the week while also having a similar effect on states east of California, forecasters said Monday.
More than 100 records for daily high temperatures could be broken between Sunday and Wednesday, the National Weather Service said, using terms like “blistering heat’’ and “uncomfortably hot’’ overnight lows to illustrate what lies ahead in the West at least until Thursday.
Death Valley could hit 125 degrees; more than 39M under warnings
The nation’s hottest spot, Death Valley, California, is predicted to hit 125 degrees Tuesday. The state capital of Sacramento, which had not climbed above 109 degrees in any previous September, is expected to top 110 all but one day this week until Saturday. Fresno in the Central Valley figures to surge past its September record of 111.
Heat warnings and advisories are in place for much of California and Nevada, but also for parts of Utah, Oregon, Idaho and Arizona, the weather service said.
Dave Houk, a senior meteorologist at Accuweather, said several of those states have already been impacted by this monster heat wave but not to the extent they will be in the next two days.
For example, Houk pointed out the highest temperature ever recorded in Boise, Idaho, on a Sept. 6 – Tuesday’s date – is 98 degrees. The forecasts for Tuesday and Wednesday are 103 and 104, respectively.
“As you go through northern Nevada, Idaho and into Montana, there’s going to be another surge that is even more extreme than what they went through,’’ Houk said, extending that prediction to Salt Lake City and parts of Wyoming. “They are going to be in the core of the heat.’’
Accuweather said Monday that more than 39 million people were under warnings for excessive heat, although the coastal northwest if finally getting some relief.
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California facing 'dangerous heat'
The same can’t be said for inland parts of California, which will be exposed to “dangerous heat’’ the rest of the week, Houk said.
Even the southern coastal areas of the state, like Los Angeles, will continue to swelter because of a rare combination of extreme heat and a high dew point, which correlates with more moisture in the air.
The dew point in downtown L.A. at 10 a.m. Monday was 70, which combined with a temperature of 87 degrees made it feel like 99 degrees. At the same time the previous day, that figure was 104.
“Once we get those dew points up near 70, the body just has a tougher time cooling itself when it’s hot because that perspiration doesn’t evaporate on the skin,’’ Houk said. “It’s another factor, at least in Southern California, that we’re seeing with this heat wave.’’
Requests for reduced power use through Friday
The intense heat is pushing energy demand close to record levels, raising concerns about the state's ability to meet those needs.
The California Independent System Operator has doubled down on its request for customers to cut down on their electricity use between 4 and 10 p.m. to avoid rotating blackouts. That means not using major appliances and setting thermostats at no lower than 78 degrees during those hours.
“Starting tomorrow, this multi-day event is going to get much more intense,” ISO President and CEO Elliot Mainzer said in a Sunday posting. “We are facing a load forecast of 48,817 megawatts and energy deficits between 2,000 and 4,000 megawatts for Monday, resulting in the highest likelihood of rotating outages we have seen so far this summer.''
The calls for reduced power use statewide began Tuesday and are expected to last at least through Friday.
"The heat wave is historic for both its temperatures and its duration,'' the ISO said.