Weather

Dangerous heat will engulf the western United States early this week with temperatures in the hottest deserts reaching or approaching the 120-degree Fahrenheit mark.

While heat is no stranger to the interior west during the summer, the sizzle early this week will have residents taking extra steps to keep cool and avoid heat-related illnesses.

Temperatures are expected to climb 5-10 degrees above normal daily through Tuesday in most communities from the deserts of California and Arizona to Idaho and Washington, away from the coast. Each of these states will have widespread highs in the 90s and 100s.

Salt Lake City is among the locations where some daily record highs are in jeopardy.

"This will likely be the hottest stretch of weather so far this year for areas east of the Cascade Mountains in Washington and Oregon," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and western U.S. blogger Brian Thompson.

The sizzle will also encompass the Interstate-5 corridor of Oregon and Washington. Highs in the lower 90s in Portland and near 90 in Seattle will put a strain on residents without air conditioning.

Highs in the 110s will bake the deserts of California, Arizona and southern Nevada. Death Valley will continue to record highs in the lower 120s, while the other hottest desert locations will approach this dangerous threshold during the day and fail to have temperatures drop out of the 90s overnight.

AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will top out at a few degrees above actual highs throughout the West due to the strong August sun.

Residents and visitors are reminded to drink plenty of water and wear light-colored clothing to avoid heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Ensure that the elderly, children and animals have the proper means to stay cool.

Avoid strenuous activities during the midday and afternoon hours, which are the hottest times of the day. If that is not possible, be sure to take frequent breaks.

Remember to never leave kids and pets in a sealed vehicle without air conditioning. There have been a total of 26 child vehicular heatstroke deaths so far in 2019, two of which have been in Arizona, according to kidsandcars.org.

Residents can seek relief from the heat by heading to the immediate coast, where more comfortable conditions will prevail.

As the heat bakes the west, vegetation will continue to dry out and become fuel for ongoing wildfires or blazes that may spark between now and the return of meaningful rain.

"Lightning associated with spotty thunderstorms will have the potential to start new wildfires across the Northwest," Thompson said. "We have started to see more of that happening the past few weeks."

There are currently nearly two dozen large wildfires burning across the Northwest, according to National Interagency Fire Center.

Thunderstorms will be most numerous and pose the greatest risks to hikers in the Rockies through the first half of this week.

There will be a higher chance for thunderstorms to spark wildfires across the Northwest starting at midweek, Thompson stated.

An end to the peak of the heat will also come by midweek.

"The worst of the heat will be felt during the first half of the week with a gradual cooldown as the week goes on," according to Thompson.

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