Things are really heating up this summer in some parts of the West. Temperature records are being set left and right with several cities having already attained the triple digit mark early on: Boise, ID (104º F), Phoenix, AZ (115ºF) and Baker, CA (125ºF). It's getting so hot that authorities in several states are warning that outdoor activities could be dangerous except during the cooler period of the early morning hours.
Stanley, ID, which often ranks as the coldest place in the lower 48 states (at a 6,000 feet elevation), saw a record high of 92 degrees last week. While meteorologists are expecting temperatures to cool a bit in Southern California within the next few weeks, the other western states won't be as fortunate. "To be honest, as far as temperatures, for as far out as we can see there's no relief," said Brandon Smith, who is expecting temperatures all across Utah to surpass the state's all-time highs this summer.Besides for raising fears about lower crop yields and an unstable power supply, the record temperatures are making life harder for firefighters who are anticipating more of the types of wildfires most recently seen ravaging Southern California. "We're really primed to burn right now," said Dennis Winkler, an assistant fire management officer for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. "We're well above average in terms of fire danger for this time of year."
As we've noted before, this scorching heat wave and record highs provide further evidence of a trend of increasing global temperatures that can only be explained by global warming. Though perhaps not the only culprit, global warming has intensified these trends and will likely make life in these western states more difficult over the coming years as its effects continue to worsen.