After a historically unprecedented heat wave already ravaged portions of the Northwest earlier this summer, another wave of intense heat is on the way.
"Temperatures are once again expected to spike across portions of the Northwest and central California valleys into the weekend as an area of high pressure strengthens over the area," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Courtney Travis.
Many cities had their highest temperatures on record during the heat wave at the end of June. Thankfully, neither the intensity nor the duration of the coming heat is expected to be as extreme as the bout from four weeks ago.
"The warmest days will likely come through Saturday in cities like Portland, Oregon, and Spokane, Washington, where afternoon high temperatures are likely to soar 10 to 15 degrees above normal," Travis said.
Portland reached 94 degrees on Wednesday and climbed even higher to 98 degrees on Thursday.
However, this heat has paled in comparison to the peak heat from June, when temperatures made it to an all-time record high of 116 F.
Farther northeast, the warmest day will likely arrive over the weekend in areas such as Spokane, Washington. The temperature hit 101 degrees on Friday then is expected to top out at 102 on Saturday, challenging the city's daily record of 103 degrees.
To the south, the central valleys of California are likely to be between 100 and 105 degrees before the high pressure weakens by the end of the weekend.
"By Sunday, the pattern will change, bringing temperatures to more normal midsummer levels," Travis explained.
The rising temperatures will continue the stretch of dry weather, which in turn will worsen the drought across the region and bring little in the way of wildfire relief for firefighters. Some cities may make a run at the most consecutive days on record without measurable rain.
"Seattle's running total of consecutive dry days, as of July 30, is at 46. That count is likely to near 50 before any serious threat of rain approaches the city," said Travis.
Seattle is currently just 9 days shy of its all-time record. From June 16 to Aug. 11, 2017, the city had 55 straight days without measurable rain. Although a trace of rain has fallen on a few occasions, measurable rain is defined as 0.01 of an inch or more.
Stagnant conditions will also continue to keep the wildfire smoke from already burning fires in the air.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are 83 active, large fires. Idaho has 22 of those fires, with another 20 in Montana and nine in Washington. Even as far north as Alaska, seven active fires are reported.
The aforementioned change in the pattern may increase the chance of thunderstorms in parts of the interior Northwest by later in the weekend.
Unfortunately, some of the thunderstorms could produce more lightning than rain, raising the risk of igniting additional fires.
Even after the heat eases, temperatures will still be above normal. This will continue to dry out vegetation, and the risk of fires will remain high.
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