Weather

September’s heat wave in the West is the most severe on record

The heat wave that’s been gripping California and different elements of the West for 10 days and counting is the most severe ever recorded in September, climate consultants have stated — confirming what California’s governor is calling the “hottest and longest on record” for the month.

The knowledge supporting the assertion is overwhelming. Records started falling on Aug. 30 when Seattle and Portland set calendar day information of 90 and 100. And it’s not but over — whereas the area’s heat wave peaked on Tuesday, it’s anticipated to proceed till Saturday, ending after a complete of 12 days.

In simply the previous week, practically 1,000 heat records have been broken, together with greater than 270 month-to-month information. Some locations, like Salt Lake City, Sacramento and Reno, Nev., have damaged their September information a number of instances and by massive margins.

Sacramento and San Jose, the place it reached 116 and 109 levels on Tuesday, clinched all-time information — which means their temperatures exceeded ranges noticed on any earlier day or month.

It’s the “greatest September heat wave ever west of the Rockies hands down,” tweeted weather historian Maximiliano Herrera on Wednesday.

Driest, wettest, hottest: Sacramento’s troubling trifecta of extremes

In addition to its magnitude and length, the heat wave has additionally been distinctive for its scope. Record-shattering temperatures have stretched from Arizona to Washington state and as far east as North Dakota.

At least two states have posted their highest temperatures ever noticed throughout September:

  • Utah: St. George, in the southwest nook of the state, hit 112 levels Tuesday.
  • Montana: Big Horn hit 108 Wednesday.

When Death Valley soared to 125 levels Tuesday, it fell only one diploma shy of the September California and world information.

As northern California experiences one of its longest and hottest heat wave to date, residents struggle to stay cool amidst record-breaking temperatures. (Video: Alice Li/The Washington Post)

Of all the states, California has seen the most extreme temperatures for the longest period of time. Sacramento, Death Valley, Stockton and Fresno all saw their warmest 7-day periods in September “by far” according to an analysis by weather enthusiast Don Sutherland.

At the heat wave’s peak on Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) known as it “unprecedented,” tweeting that it “will be the hottest and longest on record for September.”

“This will be essentially the worst September heat wave on record, certainly in Northern California and arguably for the state overall,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA, in a live discussion on Twitter.

Christopher Burt, creator of a book on weather extremes, called Tuesday “one of the, if not the, hottest single day in California’s observed weather history.” That day, California’s power demand spiked to an all-time high.

California scrambles to avoid blackouts as it pursues a green energy future

Although the heat wave is slowly easing, it is still setting records. The National Weather Service projects about a dozen more will be broken or tied through Saturday. Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories are still in place for about 30 million people in California.

This is exactly the kind of heat wave that is expected to become more common because of human-caused climate change, which has already made such events more intense, frequent and prolonged.

Below we list some of the most significant heat records set since the heat wave began:

  • Denver set calendar day record highs of 99 levels on each Wednesday and Thursday and 98 degrees on Tuesday, nearly notching its latest 100-degree reading on record. In June, it matched its earliest 100-degree reading.
  • Salt Lake City tied its all-time high of 107 on Wednesday. It broke its previous September record high five times in seven days. Before hitting 107 on Wednesday, it hit 105 on Tuesday, 104 on Monday, 103 Saturday and 102 Thursday. The previous monthly record was 100. It has hit at least 100 degrees seven times this month. Before 2022, it had only done so three times during September dating to 1928.
  • Several locations in the Mountain West set September record highs on Wednesday: Glasgow, Mont. (106); Sheridan, Wyo. (104); Boise, Idaho (104); Bowman, N.D. (102, tie); Helena, Mont. (102); and Cheyenne, Wyo. (97).
  • Downtown Sacramento set an all-time high of 116 degrees on Tuesday, surpassing the previous mark of 114 from July 17, 1925. Records there date back to 1877. Stockton, Calif., tied its all-time high of 115.
  • Death Valley hit 125 degrees Tuesday, tying its September record high and missing the September world record by just 1 degree. On Saturday, the low temperature in Death Valley of 102 degrees tied the highest minimum temperature ever recorded worldwide during September. It topped 120 degrees on nine straight days, setting calendar day records of 123 on Aug. 31, 124 on Thursday, 124 on Friday, 122 on Saturday, 124 on Sunday, 125 on Tuesday and 122 on Wednesday. It has established a new September record for most days reaching at least 120.
  • San Jose set an all-time record of 109 degrees Tuesday. King City (116), Santa Rosa (115), Napa (114) and Redwood City (110, tie) also set all-time highs, according to the Weather Service office serving the Bay Area.
  • Ukiah, Calif., about 100 miles north of San Francisco, tied an all-time high of 117 degrees Tuesday.
  • Bakersfield, Calif., hit 115 Tuesday, tying its September record high. Other September highs set Tuesday include Vacaville (115, tying Monday), Marysville (115), Hanford (114), Fresno (114) and Modesto (111).
  • Reno, Nev., set a September record high of 106 on Tuesday, beating the previous record of 104 set Sunday, after tying the previous monthly mark of 102 on Friday.
  • Grand Junction, Colo., set a September record high of 101 Tuesday.
  • Fairfield, Calif., about 40 miles northeast of San Francisco, set an all-time excessive of 117 levels Monday — three levels above the earlier record. Livermore set an all-time high of 116 on Monday which it matched on Tuesday.
  • San Diego tied its all-time warmest low temperature on record Sunday, falling to simply 78 levels.
  • Burbank, Calif., matched its all-time warmest low temperature on Sunday, solely dropping to 82 levels. On Wednesday, it set an August record high temperature of 112.
  • Las Vegas set a September record excessive minimal temperature of 87 on Sunday.
  • Casper, Wyo., set a September record excessive of 100 Sunday.
  • On Saturday, many areas in the Mountain West set September record highs, together with Bozeman (10o) and Butte (96) in Montana and Pocatello (102) and Idaho Falls (99) in Idaho.
  • The heat even surged into western Canada on Friday, the place the village of Lytton set a September record for British Columbia of 103.3 degrees (39.6 Celsius).
  • Redmond, Ore., set a September record excessive of 106 on Friday.

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