Fire Crews Continue to Battle Mother Nature Out West as Temperatures Soar

Posted: September 5, 2021 8:45 am

Do not tell the Southwest that the Labor Day weekend is supposed to signal the end of the summer. A wave of unseasonably warm temperatures will infiltrate this corner of the US through the weekend and into early next week.

Records May Fall

With temperatures that are forecast to be about 10 – 15 degrees above normal, it is not surprising to learn that some meteorologists are predicting that daily records may be challenged in some cities. Some areas may see highs in the upper 90s and well into the 100s as the heat moves through.

Cities that may see new records include Las Vegas, Reno, and Freson, California. The Phoenix area will see highs around 100 degrees starting this weekend and continuing through next week. Not only will this heat challenge records, but it may also present challenges for firefighters battling the many blazes in this region.

The warmth is the result of a dome of high pressure that is forecast to begin building over the Southwest at the start of the weekend. The dome will hold in place through early next week, causing the mercury to skyrocket.

Moisture Levels to Decrease with Heat Dome in Place

Prior to the heat dome setting up, the Southwest has been experiencing a series of monsoonal storms over the last few weeks. This has been beneficial for an area that has been under drought conditions.

However, the upcoming weather pattern will limit this monsoonal moisture through the next few days. This is because the high pressure system will push air downward, limiting the development of thunderstorms. The sinking air will encourage warmer temperatures in the process of suppressing precipitation.

Effects of Warming Trend

In addition to drying out the region, the warming temperatures will also present new challenges as firefighters work on trying to contain the numerous wildfires spreading across the West Coast.

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Residents of this region should be prepared for decreasing air quality readings as the air under the heat dome will not be able to filter the smoke particles as easily. Along with the heat, it could be a miserable few days for some areas.

The sliver of good news is that the lighter wind speeds will give firefighters the edge on getting ahead of the containment efforts.

Latest on Fires

A lack of precipitation in Northern California has only served to exacerbate the fire situation in this area. As of Saturday morning, the Dixie Fire has burned over 886,000 acres, making it the second-largest wildfire in state history. This fire is 55% contained.

Located near the popular resort area of Lake Tahoe, the Caldor Fire has destroyed over 214,000 acres with only 37% containment. Over 22,000 residents of South Lake Tahoe were forced out of their homes as the flames grew closer to the community.

The current forecast calls for above average temperatures for the Lake Tahoe area through Tuesday. A bit of relief is on tap beginning Wednesday, however wind speeds are predicted to increase due to atmospheric conditions above Washington and Oregon.

Looking Ahead

So what is ahead for the Southwest? There is a chance that the monsoonal moisture may fire up again by the end of the week. Unfortunately, this moisture system may also deliver gusty winds and the chance of thunderstorms. These conditions may further raise the threat of new wildfires as the region heads into peak fire season.

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