Summer is sizzling: Heat records fall across US West
From Seattle to Salt Lake City, the West is baking under record heat. Temperatures reaching the triple digits have made fire conditions extreme and sent folks looking for relief heading into the Fourth of July weekend. Unfortunately, the forecast in many areas calls for more sun and sweat.
Seattle, not accustomed to prolonged hot weather, saw its hottest June ever.
The average high temperature each day in June was a record 78.9 degrees, breaking the 1992 record by more than 3 degrees, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Seattle.
“Our high is supposed to be in the low to mid 70s at this time and lows in the mid-50s,” he said.
Instead, the Seattle area is seeing highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s.
Because the Seattle area suffers few heat waves, many people do not have air conditioning.
The weather was also dry in the Seattle area in June, when only 0.23 inch of precipitation was recorded. That’s the fourth driest June on record.
Meanwhile, June temperatures were scorching in in Eastern Washington, with many record highs set.
The two highest readings in June were 113 degrees at Chief Joseph Dam and in the town of LaCrosse. The towns of Chelan, Ephrata, Odessa and Omak all recorded record highs of 110 degrees in June. Spokane reached a record 105 one day.
Citing extreme wildfire risk with high temperatures and widespread drought conditions, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is asking people to limit use of fireworks. Inslee said he lacks the legal authority to enact a statewide ban, but notes some cities are restricting or banning fireworks.
Inslee has issued an emergency proclamation that allows the state Department of Natural Resources to quickly call on the National Guard and the State Guard to help respond to wildfires. A fast-moving blaze this week destroyed two dozen homes in the central Washington city of Wenatchee.
As the heat intensifies, Washington’s streams continue to dry up, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. On Thursday the agency’s Washington office reported that 80 percent of the state’s rivers were reporting below-normal flows and record-setting lows.
June in Las Vegas is officially the hottest ever.
The National Weather Service said the average June temperature recorded at McCarran International Airport was 91.9 degrees, breaking the previous record of 91.5 in 2013.
More than half of last month was at or above 105 degrees. A meteorologist said June 13 through June 30 brought 18 consecutive days of temperatures in that range.
There’s never been that many in a row or in total in a June month. In 1961, there was a streak of 12 days straight and in 1985, there were 17 total.
And halfway through this decade, there are now three June months in the top seven hottest ever recorded. The others were in June of 2012 and 2013.
Salt Lake City also saw the hottest June on record following the warmest winter ever.
The National Weather Service said the average temperature last month was 77.5 degrees, breaking the previous record of 75.7 set in June 1988.
The average monthly low of 64.5 degrees also beat the 63.3 degrees in 1918.
There were four triple-digit June days recorded at Salt Lake City International Airport this year. The normal average high for the month is 83 degrees. Half of the month tallied 90 degrees or above for daytime highs, holding steady from June 15 through June 30.
This comes after the warmest winter ever, which was also noticeably drier than usual.
The temperature during the period of December 2014 to February 2015 broke the previous record set during the 1977-78 season.
Phoenix is known for its stifling summer heat, but June 2015 stood out.
It was the third hottest month the city has endured since the National Weather Service began keeping records back in 1895. The warmest June in Phoenix was in 2013 where temperatures averaged 94.8. The average temperature for this June was 94.0.
Phoenix experienced a six-day heat stretch with temperatures of 110 and above. The National Weather Service said the longest stretch of temperatures reaching 110 and above in Phoenix’s history was in June 1974 that lasted 18 days.
The temperatures sent volunteers into the streets to keep people safe amid the scorching heat. The Phoenix Rescue Mission gave out a total of 178,000 water bottles to Phoenix’s homeless population throughout the month of June.
Associated Press writers Nicholas K. Geranios in Spokane, Washington, and Yara Bishara in Phoenix contributed to this report.