The FOX Forecast Center warns weather patterns that have resulted in excessive heat across large parts of the western and southern U.S. will continue through the foreseeable future with increasing fire risks and drought conditions.
Computer forecast models show areas of high pressure will likely set up shop over large parts of the Southwest and the Gulf Coast for the remainder of July. When these weather patterns are in place, warm air is usually trapped, leading to the formation of heat waves that can send temperatures soaring into the 90s and 100s.
Extreme heat has caused El Paso, Texas, to experience a month of nonstop triple-digit heat, and Phoenix has seen temperatures reach at least 110 degrees for more than two weeks.
On Monday, Heat Advisories are in effect for nearly 49 million people in the U.S., with more than 34 million under Excessive Heat Warnings, including in Central Texas, southern Arizona, Nevada and throughout California.
This week will be much of the same for the Southwest.
A stationary upper-level high will remain in place over the Southwest, sending temperatures into potentially record territory.
Heat Advisories throughout the Southwest and South remain in effect through Tuesday night.
On Monday, nearly two dozen record-high temperatures are at risk of being broken. Over the next week, more than 27 million people in the Lower 48 will experience air temperatures or feels-like temperatures above 110 degrees, according to the FOX Forecast Center.
The heat is not only uncomfortable, but it can also be hazardous to health, and authorities said they’ve responded to hundreds of calls of heat-related illnesses. Several people have died because of heat this summer.
July is typically the warmest month of the year, but temperatures have regularly reached between 5 and 15 degrees above average for many places this month.
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Not just hot
Continued hot and dry weather will result in the loss of soil moisture and continued drying out of vegetation.
Parts of the Golden State are included in the increasing fire risk, with multiple large fires that have broken out.
Data from the National Drought Mitigation Center shows drought conditions expanding by about 2% every week.
A broken record
If the phrase "record heat" is beginning to sound like a broken record, that's because it is.
While there is still a month and a half to go of summer, the country is on track to see another season rank in the top half of warmest ever.
NOAA reported June’s average temperature was 0.5 degrees above average, which ranked in the middle of records set over 129 years.
Once July concludes, the agency will calculate the average temperature over the 31 days, and the summer will officially be two-thirds in the history books.
The summers of 2022, 2021, 2012, 2011 and 1936 hold the top five spots for warmest seasons ever, with the average temperature ranging between 2 and 3 degrees above average.