Aug 7, 2019

50-year-old records fall as extreme heat bakes western US

Palm Springs, CA
Phoenix, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Chaffin Mitchell

Dangerous heat gripped the western United States on Monday and Tuesday, toppling several longstanding high temperature records that were well into the triple digits. The heat in the West put residents on alert for a high fire danger since the scorching temperatures created the perfect environment for any spark to ignite and quickly spread into a wildfire.

Daily record highs were set on Monday at a number of locations over the interior West. Those records were shattered in places such as Palm Springs, California, as well as Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

Palm Springs hit an all-time high of 121 F on Monday, breaking the previous record of 120 F for that day. Phoenix rose to 115 which shattered the old record of 114 on Monday.

The main cause of the higher-than-average temperatures at the start of this week has been due to a northward bulge in the jet stream.

"A large ridge of high pressure centered over the Southwest is what led to the record highs. That ridge will shift eastward in the coming days, so temperatures will come down closer to average over the second half of the week," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson said.

"Monday’s high of 115 was just 2 degrees off the all-time August record in Phoenix," Thompson said.