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Sunday, September 4, 2022

Climate Change and September Heat

Natalie Jones and Jason Samenow at WP:
California and the western United States are immersed in a historically severe September heat wave that is predicted to intensify early this week. The record-breaking temperatures are stressing power grids, fueling fires and endangering health.

The prolonged heat wave began on Aug. 30 and is forecast to peak on Monday and Tuesday before gradually easing during the second half of the week. Dozens of high temperature records have already been broken from California to Montana and dozens more are forecast.

On Saturday, numerous cities in the Intermountain West endured their highest temperatures on record not only for Sept. 3 but for the entire month. Salt Lake City (which hit 103 degrees), Pocatello, Idaho, (102 degrees), and Great Falls, Mont. (102 degrees) were among them.

“This is the worst September heat wave in Western USA history no doubt,” tweeted Maximiliano Herrera, a world weather historian, on Saturday night.

In Death Valley, Calif., the temperature has topped 120 degrees on five straight days, and is predicted to come close to the world record September temperature of 126 degrees Tuesday.

Climate scientists have found human-caused climate change is increasing the intensity, frequency and duration of heat waves such as this one. Nearly 50 million people are under excessive heat warnings or heat advisories through the early part of the week from California to Idaho.