August 30, 2022

Long-Duration Extreme Heat Settling Over Western U.S. To Begin September

We're staring into the gaping maw of yet another heat wave across the western third of the United States. A large ridge making itself at home will bathe the region with excessive heat through the foreseeable future. High heat is dangerous for anyone, but extended spells of hot temperatures are especially dangerous.

An amplified pattern setting up over North America will see a large ridge building over the west while a trough dips over the east. While some folks back east will see cooler temperatures, anyone caught under that ridge is facing the threat for day after day of excessive heat.

Source: Tropical Tidbits

Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories are in place from southern California through northern Washington—even extending north of the border into British Columbia and Alberta—through at least the end of the week. It's likely that some of the warnings and advisories will be extended into early next week.

We're looking at triple-digit daytime high temperatures for a wide expanse of the west, with the worst of the heat building in toward the weekend as the ridge intensifies over the region.

Los Angeles could crack the 100-degree mark on Saturday or Sunday, with no relief on the way until late next week. It's not exactly going to be a dry heat for LA, either, with dew points hovering around 60°F keeping things just muggy enough to make the heat feel even worse.

This is an animation of the NWS high temperature forecast between Wednesday 8/31 and next Tuesday 9/6. It may take a moment to load on your device.

The compounding heat of a long heat wave is a silent danger. Hot days dribbling into stuffy nights takes a serious toll on folks who don't have access to air conditioning or clean, reliable water. Heat events like this can claim more lives than we'd see in several years of tornado outbreaks combined.

Heat is most dangerous for vulnerable people, but very hot temperatures can take a toll on even the fittest person. Too many people succumb to heat exhaustion or worse by pushing themselves in the heat of the day.

Be mindful of what your body is telling you. Drink more water than you think you need to. Take breaks to cool off even if you don't want to. I'm guilty of it myself. It's tough to take it easy when you're used to pushing it.

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I graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. I contribute to The Weather Network as a digital writer, and I've written for Forbes, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, Popular Science, Mental Floss, and Gawker's The Vane. My latest book, The Skies Above, is now available. My first book, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, arrived in October 2015.