A blistering heat wave will persist across portions of California and the southwestern United States into the weekend — but meteorologists say that relief from the stifling summerlike conditions may finally be on the way across parts of the region.
Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories are in effect for portions of California.
The heat that has been holding across parts of California and the Southwest late in April really ramped up during the first full week of May.
“Temperatures have already been running 5-8 degrees above normal so far this month,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brian Thompson. Notable temperature milestones continued to fall in some places on Wednesday, while new records were set in other locations.
The temperature at Los Angeles International Airport peaked at 86 degrees Fahrenheit, just three degrees shy of the daily record which was set back in 1941. Downtown Los Angeles soared to 95 degrees on Thursday, making it the hottest reading yet this year.
Las Vegas eclipsed the century mark for the first time this year when the high temperature climbed to 101 degrees on Wednesday — the last time the city experienced 100-degree heat was back on Sept. 15, 2019, when a thermometer registered 102. This milestone came after the city climbed above 90 degrees every day but one thus far in May.
Both Phoenix and Tuscon, Arizona, set new daily high temperature records on Wednesday, with each city soaring to 106 degrees. AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures soared as high as 111 during the mid-afternoon hours.
Phoenix has been the bull’s-eye for the building heat. Temperatures reached 97 degrees on April 23 (10 degrees above normal), and they have been at or above that level ever since. During that two-week stretch, there were six consecutive days of triple-digit heat.
Accompanying the heat have been strong offshore winds, raising the concern for continued drought and fire dangers across California.
“While it’s early in the season, there will be an elevated fire risk into Saturday as the offshore winds bring humidity levels down,” Thompson added.
However, there is some relief in sight for the heat-weary area, and as the offshore winds are expected to begin to subside, cooler conditions will return to much of California finally.
With the exception of the Central Valley, Saturday will mark the beginning of a gradual easing of the heat in California and Nevada.
“A storm tracking from the Pacific into the Northwest early next week will allow temperatures to largely go back towards average in California,” said Thompson.
Highs in Sacramento will be near 80 on Monday, and Downtown Los Angeles can expect a high in the mid-70s, with both areas expected to register temperatures right at average levels for the date.
The drop in temperatures is likely to make it easier for residents to find ways to more comfortably social distance outdoors amid the COVID-19 lockdown across the state.
The storm will trim back at the heat in California and also shift the hottest conditions eastward into the Four Corners region. Temperatures over the weekend will still skyrocket to near 100 degrees into Sunday across Arizona.
But even this area will soon have more moderate conditions. Temperatures in Phoenix and Tucson are also forecast to return to near-normal levels in the lower 90s by Tuesday.
Near-normal temperatures next week in places like the southern Rockies and Northern California are also likely to be accompanied by some wet weather. Showers and more clouds are forecast to move into both sections of the West, helping to keep temperature spikes at bay and also providing needed rain to drought areas.