Residents of southwestern US to endure scorching heat wave

After a seasonably mild April so far, residents across California and much of the southwestern United States should brace for the first significant heat wave of the year this week.

A ridge of high pressure will build across the Southwest this week, pushing temperatures into the 90s and even 100s in spots by the middle and latter part of the week.

"By Wednesday, widespread highs in the 90s F are anticipated throughout California's Central Valley and the deserts of Southern California, Nevada and Arizona," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

She added that temperatures may reach or exceed 100 F in the desert communities from Palm Springs, California; to Phoenix, Arizona; later this week.

SW Heat Static

If the mercury reaches the century mark in Phoenix on Friday, it will be the first time since Sept. 29, 2018, that the temperature has climbed that high.

High temperatures from Tuesday through Saturday are forecast to be in the lower to middle 90s F in Fresno, California, and may challenge record highs on Thursday and Friday.

It has also been since last September that Fresno has had five or more 90-degree-Fahrenheit days in a row.

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Mt Lemmon, Arizona
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Mt Lemmon, Arizona
The Mount Lemmon Highway presents a twisty, scenic drive, popular among tourists, cyclists, and motorcyclists in the Tucson area of Arizona. Officially the General Hitchcock Highway and also known as the Catalina Highway, this road winds up 6,000 feet from the floor of the Sonoran desert to the summit of Mount Lemmon, offering stunning views in a variety of climatic zones. Usually found in warm climates, hoodoos are among the rock features visible from the highway. They're usually capped with a protective hard rock, and the softer rock below the caps has been eroded -- and continues to erode -- into weird shapes, leading to alternative terms like tent rock, fairy chimney, and earth pyramid.
The Road to Mt. Lemmon
A stunning view across south Arizona with monsoon clouds developing. Taken on MT Lemmon in Arizona, USA.
View towards Tucson of winding road from Windy Point on Mount Lemmon in Tucson, Arizona, USA in the Santa Catalina Mountains located in the Coronado National Forest with blue sky copy space.
Snow in southern Arizona is very rare. White snow on red rock and ever green trees.
Colorful sunset sky and clouds over the hodoos along the Catalina Highway on Mount Lemmon near Tucson, Arizona.
Mount Lemmon is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains and offers temperatures that are on average 20 degrees cooler than the city of Tuscon.
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"Residents of the Southwest can anticipate increased cooling costs as the summerlike heat wave takes hold this week," said Pydynowski.

In order to keep cool, people will need to have their air conditioning units cranking and drink plenty of water if spending prolonged time outdoors.

Be sure to take frequent breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned building if partaking in strenuous, outdoor activities this week in order to avoid heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Drinking plenty of water and drinks containing high electrolyte counts, while at the same time avoiding alcoholic beverages, will also help minimize these risks.

"In addition, spring sports teams should move practices to the morning or evening hours when temperatures are lower," Pydynowski said.

Anybody eager to cool off in streams, rivers and lakes should remember that water temperatures this time of year are still too low for swimming.

"Jumping into cold water can lead to a potentially fatal condition known as cold water shock," Pydynowski warned.

With the prolonged stretch of heat and light winds this week, air quality will also deteriorate to levels that could make it dangerous for sensitive groups, the elderly and children to be outdoors.

Poor air quality is particularly dangerous for those with respiratory or cardiovascular health conditions, such as asthma or heart disease.

While temperatures in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco are forecast to be 5-10 degrees above normal this week, dangerous heat is not in the cards for these coastal communities as highs remain in the 70s and 80s F.

Fortunately, the heat will back down later this weekend and into early next week.

"A storm that may bring showers to a part of the Southwest is expected to bring the heat wave to an end in the final days of April," Pydynowski said.

Download the free AccuWeather app to see how high temperatures will climb in your community this week. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

 

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