‘Very serious’ heatwave to hit California with highs of 115F over Labor Day

Intense heatwaves have rocked nearly every corner of the US this summer

Ethan Freedman
Climate Reporter, New York
Tuesday 30 August 2022 15:43 BST
Southern California braces for heat wave that could bring triple-digit temps

Forecasters are predicting potentially “record-breaking” heat in California later this week and over the Labor Day weekend, warning that extreme temperatures could pose serious health risks.

Temperatures may reach up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) in the hills and valleys near Los Angeles on Sunday and Monday, warned the National Weather Service (NWS).

Heat will start building early this week, with highs across southern and central California, Nevada and Arizona reaching well above 100F (38C) by Thursday and through the weekend.

By Sunday, Sacramento is forecast to reach a high of 112F (44C), while other parts of the Central Valley as far north as Chico and Redding will hit between 107-110F (42-43C). Los Angeles is forecast to hit 99F (37C) downtown and up to 113F (45C) in the San Fernando Valley.

All the way up in Yosemite Valley, home to rock faces like El Capitan and Half Dome, temperatures could reach 107F (42C) on Saturday, and stay hot through the holiday weekend.

Wildfire Today, a wildfire news site, reported that if these extreme temperatures come with low humidity and high winds, existing fires could be exacerbated.

The heatwave is being driven by a “heat dome”, according to the Los Angeles Times, meaning a mass of high-pressure filled with hot air.

Southern California and the southern end of the Central Valley, as well as parts of Nevada and Arizona, have been issued an “excessive heat warning” through the weekend. In Phoenix and Las Vegas, temperatures will hover well above 100F (38C) all wee

The northern Central Valley and Bay Area have been issued an “excessive heat watch”. Parts of Washington, Oregon and Idaho have been given a “heat advisory”, as temperatures will reach around 100F (38C) in the eastern half of Washington and Oregon, as well as western Idaho later this week.

The NWS office in Los Angeles has encouraged people to wear light clothing, stay hydrated and check on people who may be more vulnerable to heat-related illness, like the elderly.

Heat illnesses can range from heat cramps and sunburn to serious and potentially fatal heat stroke, where the body is unable to cool itself down.

Intense heatwaves have rocked nearly every corner of the US this summer, from short but intense heat in the Pacific Northwest to prolonged periods of stifling heat in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

And as the climate crisis continues to grow, heatwaves are only likely to grow worse.

So far, the world has warmed about 1.1-1.2C above mid-19th-century temperatures. According to the United Nations’ leading climate science panel, as the world reaches 2C of warming, heatwaves that once occurred every 10 years will now happen about every other year.

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