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Sizzling heat building in Southwest

Highs topping 100 degrees in spots Thursday, Friday

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Triple-digit heat will hit truckers across the Southwest over the next couple of days.

From the Central Valley of California to southern Arizona, temperatures will soar into the 90s to above 100 degrees in many spots Thursday and Friday. This includes places in California like Redding, Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, El Centro and Death Valley; Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma in Arizona; as well as Las Vegas.

This won’t be a record-breaking heat wave, but these highs will be anywhere from 7 to 15 degrees above normal for mid-May. Even though the high may only reach the upper 80s in Sacramento, California, this would be 10 degrees above normal.

The high heat may catch some drivers off guard as they step out of their trucks to take breaks. So they should spend as much time as possible in the air conditioning.

Also, the National Weather Service has issued an air quality alert for the Phoenix metropolitan area, where the air quality will be unhealthy. The stagnant lower atmosphere will be full of elevated levels of ozone and other pollutants, potentially putting extra stress on drivers who have asthma or other breathing problems. They should spend as little time as possible outside their big rigs.

Extreme to exceptional drought conditions continue across the region as the heat sizzles, leaving areas prone to wildfires. To prevent new fires from sparking, truckers should avoid dragging chains and parking in grassy areas.


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.