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Records fall as heat wave continues for Father's Day weekend

By
Mary Gilbert, Accuweather.com
Spectators watch the second round of play on a foggy morning at the 121st U.S. Open Championship at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif., on Friday, June 18, 2021. Photo by Richard Ellis/UPI
Spectators watch the second round of play on a foggy morning at the 121st U.S. Open Championship at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif., on Friday, June 18, 2021. Photo by Richard Ellis/UPI | License Photo

Last week, dozens and dozens of heat records were shattered across the western half of the United States. In the West, talk of record-breaking temperatures may be beginning to sound like a physical broken record to some residents.

Unfortunately, AccuWeather forecasters say that record-challenging heat is set to persist through at least Father's Day weekend for a good portion of the West.

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The same atmospheric pattern that has sent temperatures skyrocketing last week will remain in place through at least Sunday. A northward bulge in the jet stream above the western U.S. will keep hot, largely dry air in place.

Records continued to be challenged on Saturday across much of the Southwest. On Saturday, Las Vegas marked its third day in a row of either setting or tying a record high temperature. The city soared to 114 degrees Fahrenheit and tied the record for the day last set in 1940.

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On Father's Day itself, records could fall across parts of California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico yet again. However, unseasonable heat will also creep farther east into parts of the southern Plains, especially portions of West Texas and the Texas Panhandle.

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Residents hoping to celebrate Father's Day outdoors will need to stay well hydrated and protect themselves from the sun to keep any threat of heat-related illnesses at bay. With drought conditions ongoing, residents should also use caution with any outdoor barbecues or grills as a small spark could quickly grow into a concerning wildfire.

A majority of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico are experiencing extreme to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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"The extreme heat is also enhanced due to ongoing drought conditions," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said. "It takes very little energy for the sun's rays to evaporate the minimal amount of moisture currently at the surface, so the energy from the sun can go directly into heating the ground."

Generally, the more time the sun's intense rays can heat the dry ground, the higher temperatures will soar.

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While too many entries in the weather history books were rewritten the past week to list them all, there were a few that were even more impressive than the rest. For example, Tucson, Arizona, broke its daily high temperature record each afternoon for a whopping six-day stretch from June 12 to June 17. Farther north, Salt Lake City, Utah, tied its all-time record high temperature on June 15. The thermometer topped out at a staggering 107 degrees.

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Southern California also sweltered this past week. Well known as one of the hottest places in the world, Death Valley broke its daily high temperature records on June 16 and 17. On June 17, Death Valley soared to 128 degrees, absolutely obliterating the old record of 122 degrees from more than 100 years ago in 1917.

On June 17, Palm Springs, Calif., managed to record its hottest June day on record when the mercury topped out at 123 degrees. This reading also tied the all-time record high for the city, a distinction 2021 now shares with three other years in history.

Records continued to be rewritten on Friday as many interior areas of California baked under the unseasonable heat.

While heat continues in the Southwest, AccuWeather forecasters say good news is on the horizon just in time for Father's Day for some parts of the country that also dealt with record heat the past week.

The jet stream will begin to sink southward over the North Central states on Sunday, allowing many areas from Rapid City, South Dakota, to Minneapolis and Chicago to receive some much-needed heat relief. Many cities across this area are running temperature departures of an incredible 8-12 degrees above average for the month of June thus far.

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On Father's Day itself, high temperatures across these areas are forecast to only top out at near-normal levels for mid-June. High temperatures in the 70s will be common across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, while low to middle 80s will be common farther south.

AccuWeather long-range forecasters say this cooler pattern is set to stick around for much of the north-central U.S. beyond Father's Day and through the second half of June.

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