Extraordinary, hot weather is settling across the West, raising the prospects of wildfires and heat-related deaths.
Indeed, it's possible that the U.S. could see its hottest temperature on record this early in the year, according to AccuWeather Inc., The World-Herald's weather consultant.
Luckily, Nebraska is far enough east that it will escape the heat wave, said Tim Trudel, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Cheyenne, Wyo. The Panhandle, he said, will enjoy the coolish weather that will also bathe eastern Nebraska this weekend.
Anyone traveling in the West over the next week or so should factor the heat danger into their plans. Affected cities include: Flagstaff, Ariz., Reno, Nev., Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, Boise, Idaho, Rawlins, Wyo., Medford, Ore., and Fresno, Calif.
The western heat wave will be extreme and prolonged, according to AccuWeather, so grassy and wooded areas now green could dry out and add to the fuel available for wildfires.
Death Valley may not break its all-time high temperature, but it could break its June record, according to AccuWeather. The hottest temperature recorded in Death Valley in June is 128 degrees on June 30, 1994.
If that record is broken, then the U.S. will be in new territory for high temperatures this early in the year. A caveat: “Early” means just by a week or so.
The hottest day ever recorded on Earth occurred in Death Valley on July 10, 1913, according to the World Meteorological Organization. On that day, the official Weather Bureau thermometer at Furnace Creek Ranch recorded a 134-degree high. The organization notes that super-heated sand from a dust storm that day could have skewed the reading.
Sources: AccuWeather Inc., National Weather Service, Arizona State University/World Meteorological Organization.