Aug 31, 2017

How hot is it out here in the America West?

California
USA
by
Patrick May
,
The Mercury News
Ricky R. of Union City stays cool at Boomerang Bay at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, California. Photo: Gary Reyes/ Bay Area News Group
Ricky R. of Union City stays cool at Boomerang Bay at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, California. Photo: Gary Reyes/ Bay Area News Group

It got so hot one day in July last year in the Mitrabah wasteland of Kuwait that experts at the United Nations set up a committee to figure out what the heck was going on. How hot? Exactly 129.2 degrees hot. Which exactly tied the highest reliably measured air temperature in history, recorded on July 1, 2013, right here in our own backyard: Death Valley, U.S.A.

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Blame this wave on the high-pressure system that’s now hunkered down over the West Coast and looks like it’ll stay there at least until Monday. That weather system will keep temperatures as much as 25 degrees above average in some places. The weather service has issued an excessive heat advisory in southwest California through Friday and a heat advisory for Northern California through the weekend. Add to that lovely picture: record-busting temperatures, fast-moving wildfires near Oroville in Northern California, blackouts and other stresses on the state’s power grid.

“It’s basically everything west of the Rockies,” said meteorologist Charles Bell with the National Weather Service in the Bay Area. “We could see some places reach all-time record temperatures.”