Published September 27, 2017
While the Southwest monsoon has inched its way into the region, storms will be few and far between while stifling heat prevails.
Temperatures are predicted to continue to exceed the century mark as far north as Montana through the weekend, though some change is in store for the upcoming week.
“The heat will continue into Monday, but temperatures should fall slightly through the middle of the week,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Jordan Root said.
“However, temperatures are likely to remain above average across most of the interior West during this time.”
In Billings, Montana, afternoon temperatures will reach into the upper 90s F Sunday, but struggle to rise out of the 80s Tuesday - despite an average high of 85.
In addition to a relative break from the heat, a nearby disturbance will offer some relief from the glaring sun at midweek.
“A weak storm diving into the Northwest will likely bring an increase in moisture across the Southwest this week,” Root said. “This will result in showers and thunderstorms and an increase in clouds across the Four Corners region.”
For many, this pattern change could result in the first rainfall of the season. In Needles, California, a storm Saturday night brought the area's first rainfall since May 10.
“This will help with the heat in some places, but will also bring the threat for downpours and flooding across parts of the Southwest,” Root warned.
While the storm in Needles helped temperatures drop swiftly out of the 110s, it also resulted in a sudden drop in visibility, localized flooding and gusty winds.
Residents and tourists will need to be on the lookout for these storms, since they often catch people off guard, and be prepared to pull over their vehicles or seek shelter at the first sign of threatening weather.
While brief storms could aid in wildfire relief, the overall pattern will continue to enable spreading fires.
“Intense heat may return by the end of the week and weekend, which will make it tough for those battling wildfires across the area,” Root said.
Dozens of fires are currently plaguing the western U.S., with a few threatening high-population areas.
Evacuations were necessary near Breckenridge, Colorado, last week and a pair of fires in Santa Barbara County, California, forced hundreds of people out of their homes and temporarily trapped summer camp children and counselors this weekend.
Dry lightning strikes could continue to spark new fires across the region this week.