As thunderstorms begin to diminish away from the Four Corners states, a resurgence of heat will arrive in the balance of the western United States by the weekend.
“We expect most of the West, Rockies and western Plains to have unseasonable heat, including the Pacific States [at the end of July and into August],” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston said.
Temperatures will climb 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal with highs well into the 90s F from Elko, Nevada, to Boise, Idaho; Pendleton, Oregon; Spokane, Washington; and Great Falls, Montana.
The wave of heat could come close to breaking daily record highs in Missoula, Montana, on Sunday and Monday.
Seattle can expect multiple days in the lower to middle 80s spanning this weekend into early next week. Portland, Oregon, will flirt with or exceed the 90-degree mark.
“A part of the Four Corners region and central and southern Rockies will have near- to below-normal temperatures due to higher soil moisture due to recent monsoon rainfall,” Boston said.
In this part of the West, more of the sun’s energy will be used to evaporate moisture from the soil as opposed to heating the ground and surrounding air.
Temperatures along the beaches of the Pacific Coast will average 10 to 20 degrees lower than areas farther inland. However, those seeking relief from the heat should be wary of stepping into the water.
Hurricane Hilary, churning south of Baja California, may raise surf and the frequency and intensity of rip currents along the south-facing beaches of Southern California.
The northward surge of moisture associated with the North American monsoon will begin to throttle back across the Great Basin and northern Rockies with drier air taking its place into next week.
“In spite of the monsoon weakening, we can still see scattered high-elevation thunderstorms in the afternoons and evenings out West,” Boston said.
The thunderstorms outside of the Four Corners region will hold the greatest risk of lightning-induced wildfires as little to no rain will reach the ground.
The combination of sparse rainfall and excessive heat will not be good news for firefighters in the region. Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Washington, are currently the most active states in terms of large wildfires, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
In the Four Corners region, soaking thunderstorms will continue to douse the wildfire danger while threatening flash flooding. Outdoor enthusiasts will need to remain on alert even if thunderstorms are well off in the distance. A torrent of water can come rushing down an arroyo or canyon in a matter of minutes.
Wherever a thunderstorm erupts, strong gusty winds can cause blowing dust, reduced visibility and erratic wildfire behavior.