Californians Warned About Blistering July 4th Heatwave: “It Just Isn’t Going to Cool Off”

Although California is expecting triple-digit temperatures this weekend, experts warn of “longer-lasting heatwaves all over the world”

4th of July Frying?

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While millions of Americans are awaiting this year’s July 4th celebrations, Southern California is bracing for another heat wave – one that could introduce triple-digit temperatures to certain parts of the region. 

Rising Heat

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The National Weather Service (NWS) has stated that a large area of high pressure will usher in hot conditions in the days before the holiday. Highs in the valleys and mountains could exceed 108 degrees by Tuesday or Wednesday before increasing towards the weekend.

California’s Heating Up

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Areas to be impacted include the Inland Empire, the Central Coast, Antelope Valley, and southwest Santa Barbara County. 

According to a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Sacramento, Kate Forrest, the Valley is expected to reach a roasting 115 degrees this week. A heat warning for the area was sent out on Tuesday and is expected to last until Saturday at the least.  

An Extended Problem

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Forrest has stated: “We are expecting elevated heat and extreme heat risk throughout most of interior California,” before adding: “This heat is going to be a prolonged event”. 

Fanning the Flames

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Furthermore, Forrest predicted there’s a 45% chance of wind gusts blowing stronger than 35 mph in the Sacramento Valley. Add to this the fact that humidity levels might drop into the single digits, and you have a strong chance of fast-moving wildfires. 

Can’t Be Stopped

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“If ignition starts, it will spread,” Forrest said, adding that plants are dry and ready to burn, especially at elevations under 3,000 feet. 

The Coast is Toast

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The NWS also warned that coastal areas can expect temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees by Thursday or Friday. 

Beware the Valleys

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Both the San Fernando- and Sun Gabriel valleys will experience highs in the 90s the entire week, while Pasadena can hit 94 on Sunday and climb up to 97 by Wednesday next week. 

LA, Watch Out

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Meanwhile, those in downtown Los Angeles must prepare for highs in the 80s throughout the week before rising to 90 by the weekend. 

Inland Not Much Better

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Things won’t be much cooler in inland Orange County, where temperatures will also remain in the 80s. Anaheim Hills is expected to reach the 90s by mid-week, which is why the area will be under a heat advisory from 11 a.m. Friday through 11 p.m. Saturday, when temperatures are expected to hit 100 degrees.

Fireworks, Really? 

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Although fire risks are always on the rise during the 4th of July’s explosive celebrations, it is particularly worrying this year thanks to the dry weather. Across the US, over 18,500 fires (whether due to errant fireworks or badly tended campfires) are ignited because of Independence Day.

Cal Fire Preparing

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Nick Schuler, deputy director of Cal Fire, said: “It’s going to be a challenge both day and night – so the message is prevention”. 

It’s expected to be an extremely busy week leading into a very busy summer, which is why Cal Fire is at maximum staffing levels.

Could Get Worse

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So far, California has already experienced over 131,400 acres burning – and there are still months left before the risk of more fires peaks. 

Shutoffs Expected

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On Monday, Pacific Gas & Electric said that power shutoffs were likely in 10 California counties on Tuesday and Wednesday, due to the expected dry conditions and high winds. 

It Could Help, But…

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Power shutoffs aim to help reduce the risk of wildfires in regions where high winds could topple power lines or even cause trees to fall on them. However, said shutoffs will also leave some communities without electricity as the mercury climbs to hazardous levels. 

Firefighters at It

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Firefighting crews were dispatched across California on Tuesday to battle various small wildfires. About 70 miles (113 km) north of Sacramento in Oroville, home to about 15,000 residents, the Thompson fire in Butte County resulted in evacuation orders for an unknown number of homes.  

Warnings have already been issued that the heat will peak on Friday and Saturday. 

One for the History Books

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During a broadcast discussion of the rising heat on Monday, climate scientist Dr Daniel Swain said: “This is going to be a severe, prolonged, potentially record-breaking heatwave that may have large impacts for much of California”. 

Hot Nights Ahead

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He continued by saying that the long duration will only boost the potential impact and intensity, particularly since sunsets will bring little relief: “It just isn’t going to cool off – even at night”.

After a Wet Winter…

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As if high heat wasn’t enough, the extreme weather can now also ignite new wildfires thanks to the abundantly wet winter. 

The California landscapes are covered in grasses that rapidly dried once the wet winter started warming up. This left yellowing hillsides and valleys thick and overgrown, which is a recipe for fast-burning brush fires. 

A Burning Desert?

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Even deserts that are typically arid this time of year now have the potential to burn. “Unfortunately, I am not using the term ‘if wildfires develop’ because I think it’s inevitable during this event,” Swain said. 

Lost Lives

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The extreme temperatures have already claimed many lives, including that of Scott Sims, a 69-year-old hiker from Austin, Texas. 

On Monday, the National Park Service reported that Sims had died while hiking in Grand Canyon National Park in an area where the heat can reach 120 degrees in the shade.

Keep Safe

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Park officials have warned hikers in the inner canyon against hiking during peak heat hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Officials also stated that everyone needs to plan accordingly for outdoor events since the rising heat will affect most, especially children, the elderly, and those who are active outdoors. 

Hotter and Hotter

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A research meteorologist with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Dr Alexander Gershunov, has noted that this will not be the last heatwave to hit California. 

“The trend is toward more frequent, more extreme, longer-lasting heatwaves all over the world,” he said. “California is certainly no exception”. 

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The post Californians Warned About Blistering July 4th Heatwave: “It Just Isn’t Going to Cool Off” first appeared on EcoHugo.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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