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Heat wave coming for truckers in Southwest

Dangerous triple-digit heat could be rough on drivers, trucks from Texas to Vegas

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

A brutal heat wave will begin this weekend in the Southwest, with temperatures well exceeding 100 degrees in many spots.

Because the intense heat could last for several days, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued excessive heat warnings across the region, including southern Nevada, southern California and a large portion of Arizona.

High temperatures will range from 105 to 115 degrees, but may gradually approach 120 in localized areas next week. While triple-digit heat isn’t unusual in early to mid-June, these highs will be above normal. Some daily records may be tied or broken in places like Las Vegas; Phoenix, Tucson and Lake Havasu City, Arizona; as well as El Centro, Riverside, Palm Springs and Death Valley, California.

To stay cool, drivers should wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothes and bring extra bottled water with them. Make sure trucks are in tip-top shape and stay in air-conditioned spaces when taking breaks. Also, be sure reefer trailers are in good condition to ensure temperature-sensitive freight doesn’t get damaged.

Dangerous heat will also hit the Plains Friday. High temperatures and heat index values will exceed 100 degrees from Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Wichita Falls, Abilene and Midland-Odessa, Texas, as well as Roswell, New Mexico.

Other notable weekend weather

Look for areas of heavy rain and flash flooding through Friday evening from the southern Appalachians to the mid-Atlantic. The NWS has flash flood watches posted for Washington, all of Virginia and West Virginia, upstate North Carolina, northeastern Tennessee and eastern Kentucky.


Because of two large wildfires in Arizona, the following roads remain closed:

• U.S. Highway 60 from Superior to Miami.
• U.S. Highway 180 from north of Flagstaff between mileposts 235 and 248.

The Telegraph and Mescal fires are burning a combined 158,700 acres east of Phoenix and north of Tucson as of Friday morning.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.