Extreme heat wave predicted for the Southwest

High Temperatures in Southern California
High Temperatures in Southern California Wednesday, June 16

Many areas in the Southwest will have high temperatures next week near record-setting levels. Excessive heat watches and warnings cover portions of Arizona, California, and Nevada.

For Las Vegas the Excessive Heat Warning says “life-threatening temperatures are likely.” The forecast for Phoenix on Monday and Tuesday is for highs of 115° and 116° where the record high for the dates is 115°. The forecast highs for the Southern California deserts next week are 10 to 18 degrees above daily averages.

There is an Excessive Heat Warning for the inland areas of Southern California for Monday through Wednesday, with highs of 103° and 104° on Tuesday and Wednesday at Riverside. It will be breezy there with 11 to 14 mph west winds gusting to 22 mph in the afternoons with the relative humidity around 20 percent.

Monday through Friday of next week the Hot Dry Windy Index (HDWI) will be above the 75th percentile in the Riverside area, peaking on Tuesday above the 95th percentile.

HDWI Riverside, CA
Hot Dry Windy Index, generated for the Riverside, Calif. area, June 12, 2021.

The HDWI in most of Arizona will peak Sunday, June 13, at the 95th percentile level then drop for the rest of the week closer to average.

The Fire Potential Index will be very high in mid-week for portions of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Western Colorado. The FPI is most similar to the Energy Release Component of the National Fire Danger Rating System in that both are moisture related indexes and neither indicates the effect of wind on fire potential.

Fire Potential Index for June 15, 2021
Fire Potential Index for June 15, 2021. USGS.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.