The desert Southwest is a sizzling place to reside, however think about spending over half of the yr with excessive temperatures of no less than 100 levels. Components of California and Arizona did simply that this yr.
Lengthy stretches of warmth do not simply adversely influence people and animals, but in addition contribute to the continuing drought and wildfires within the western US.
A sequence of high-pressure techniques in unfavorable places haven’t solely allowed for temperatures to soar over the previous few months, however have successfully blocked any massive, rainmaking storms from transferring via the realm.
“Excessive strain straight overhead, or to the south of Arizona contributed to our lack of rainfall and sizzling temperatures,” mentioned Emily Carpenter, a meteorologist for the Nationwide Climate Service’s workplace in Tucson, Arizona.
It is greater than just a bit dry. The month of September tied the earlier report set in 1953 for the driest month in Tucson. In each years, no rainfall was measured.
However it’s a ‘dry warmth’
The 2020 monsoon season ranked because the second driest on report for the Tucson space. The monsoon season is outlined by the climate service as any rainfall from June 15 to September 30. The Tucson space solely acquired 1.62 inches of rain within the 2020 monsoon season, second solely to 1924 when the realm solely picked up 1.59 inches.
Different southwestern cities have additionally felt the drought. Phoenix hasn’t recorded any measurable rain since August 20. In San Diego, June 29 was the final time any measurable rain fell. Downtown Los Angeles in all probability forgets what rain even seems to be like, because the metropolis final noticed some on Could 18.
This could additionally clarify why Las Vegas additionally had its driest monsoon on report this yr. Yuma, Arizona, additionally achieved that very same report.
None of those locations are alone within the battle for rainfall. Greater than 80 p.c of the western US is coping with drought situations.
In Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah, the extent of utmost drought encompasses greater than 50% of every state. The climate service defines excessive drought as “an space the place main crop and pasture losses are widespread, hearth danger is excessive, and widespread water shortages might be anticipated requiring restrictions.”
“With over 95% of Colorado experiencing drought situations and over 50% thought-about an excessive drought, the state is in determined want of rain and snow,” says Derek Van Dam, CNN meteorologist. “This state is one more instance of the long-term drying development skilled over the western US, a product of local weather change and our warming planet.”
A really extended stretch of warmth
And if the drought alone wasn’t unhealthy sufficient, this summer time has introduced baking temperatures with many cities experiencing an irregular quantity of 100-degree days.
On Friday, Tucson hit 101 levels which suggests the town tied with October 16, 1991, for the most recent occurring 100-degree day within the yr. This coming after hitting 110 levels on September 4, the most recent the temperature has reached 110, breaking the previous report set on August 22, 1930. September 4 is also the town’s hottest September temperature on report.
Friday additionally added to Tucson’s report complete of 108 days with 100-degree temperatures in 2020. For comparability, the common variety of 100-degree days in a yr for Tucson is 62, in response to the climate service.
Palm Springs, California, has additionally seen a report variety of triple-digit days this yr. The forecast requires a excessive temperature of 102 levels on Saturday, which can mark the 148th day of temperatures at or above 100 in Palm Springs.
On Friday, Phoenix had its 145th day in 2020 the place the thermometer reached no less than 100 levels — a report in response to the climate service’s Phoenix workplace. The earlier report of 143 days was set in 1989.
As of Saturday, precisely half of the times this yr — 145 days out of 290 — have reached 100 levels in Phoenix .
Because of this each Palm Springs and Phoenix have spent no less than half of the 290 days up to now of this yr with temperatures at or above 100 levels. An achievement that neither in all probability need to have.