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Record heat wave continues in western US (with forecast video)

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

After a weekend of record triple digit heat in many western states, scorching temperatures will continue for the next few days.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Monday, August 17, 2020, 5 a.m. EDT; Excessive heat warnings

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the high Sunday reached 115 degrees in Phoenix, Arizona, setting a new record for August 16. It was the 40th day this year that Phoenix hit 110 or higher, and ninth day of 115 or higher.

Sunday was the hottest August day on record for the California cities of Sacramento (112 degrees), Stockton (113 degrees) and Modesto (111 degrees).

Sunday’s high of 130 degrees in Death Valley still needs to be verified. If it sticks, it would not only set a new record for the date, but it would also become the hottest August temperature on record for the location.

Other triple digit records were tied or set in places like Freson and San Jose, California; Spokane, Washington; and Lewiston, Idaho.

A strong ridge of high pressure remains sprawled across the West, allowing for plenty of sizzling sunshine to beam down on these same areas. Temperatures will again reach record levels of 110 to 125 degrees in the deserts, with 90s to just above 100 closer to the coast. Highs will be 10 degrees or more above normal in some spots. This includes the Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Portland, Spokane and Boise metropolitan areas.

Drivers in these hot zones should spend as little time as possible outside their trucks and stay hydrated. They should make sure their trucks are in tip-top shape and the air conditioning works well. Also, reefer drivers may have to adjust the settings of their trailers to be extra sure their temperature-sensitive freight doesn’t become damaged.

Besides the extreme heat, thunderstorms may pop up where pockets of instability develop. Lightning could spark new brush fires or wildfires, potentially producing thick smoke and road closures.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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.