'Oppressive' heatwave could smash West Coast records this week as temperatures top 110F & 15M people are put on alert
A FORMIDABLE heatwave is set to grip the West Coast over the next week, sending temperatures soaring above 100F.
The early-season hot spell could also break more than 130 heat records from Southern California all the way up to parts of Washington State.
Temperatures will edge over the 100F mark as far north as Eastern Washington during the heat wave's peak, forecasts from the National Weather Service show.
Some communities in California's Central Valley could also be hit with temperatures as high as 110F in the coming days.
Similarly, in northern California, highs will range from 20 to 25 degrees above average for this time of year.
Temperatures in Sacremento are expected to reach 106 degrees, while parts of the northen valley could reach between 108 and 109.
"A strong area of high pressure at the jet stream level of the atmosphere began to work its way over Northern California over the weekend," AccuWeather Meteorologist Thomas Geiger reported.
"This feature will remain locked in place into midweek and will cause extreme heating."
Excessive heat warnings have already been issued in parts of the region, including in Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley. More are expected in the coming days.
On Sunday, Sacremento fell just three degrees short of a daily record of 103.
In Redding, California, a new record high was set for May 30 as the mercury topped 104.
The heat will increase in these areas through Monday afternoon, as both are forecast to top out in the 100s and break daily high-temperature records.
Triple-digit readings will push farther north into southwestern Oregon, eastern Washington, and southern Idaho by Wednesday, NWS predicts.
While a large number of cities across the West Coast are well accustomed to high heat during the summer, a heat wave of this strength rarely comes so early in the season.
NWS has predicted that Walla Walla, in Washington, will record its second-earliest reading at or above 100°F since records began in 1949 on Wednesday.
The city's airport is tipped to record temperatures of 101.
In Sacramento, meanwhile, the forecasted highs of 106 on Monday would register as the third-earliest reading above 105°F since steady record-keeping began in 1948.
Triple-digit readings will push farther north into southwestern Oregon, southern Idaho, and Montana by Wednesday, forecasts show.
In Montana, temperatures are expected to reach the mid- to upper 90s in some parts of the state.
"There is high confidence that Wednesday's high temperatures could reach well into the mid to upper 90s for western Montana valleys, with 90s to near-or-above 100 degrees for central Idaho valleys," NWS tweeted.
Areas around Las Vegas and Death Valley could also see their first 100-degree day of the year.
While the heat is expected to be relatively dry, overexertion in such conditions can lead to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Anyone participating in outdoor Memorial Day celebrations will need to account for the heat by staying hydrated, wearing light-colored clothing and regularly applying sunscreen.
Additionally, the intensive conditions will also exacerbate an already dire drought situation across the West Coast, which is already suffering from one of its worst droughts in several years.
The parched land, combined with the soaring temperatures, is likely to cause concern among experts ahead of what could be another potentially historic wildfire season.
The weather service office in Medford, Oregon, is warning residents to be extra careful.
"Please be extra cautious with anything that could start a fire in the coming days by being sure it is no longer burning when you discard it. Be sure to extinguish all campfires in areas where they are permitted before leaving the area," the weather service said.
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