2007 Western North American heat wave

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Western heat wave of 2007

The 2007 western North American heat wave was a record-breaking event that began in late June 2007. The heat stretched from Mexico to Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and into northwestern Ontario.[1] The record heat has exacerbated already present record-breaking drought conditions in much of the Western U.S., allowing fires to grow to record-breaking sizes.

The combination of conditions forced major freeway closures, animal and human deaths, evacuations, and destruction of property.

Much of eastern North America experienced more average conditions through July 2007, with little in the way of prolonged heat waves. However, drought remained a problem in some areas of the east, particularly parts of the southeast.

Record highs[edit]

Reno, Nevada, reached 108 °F (42 °C) on July 5 easily breaking the previous record of 100 °F (38 °C).[2]

At 116 °F (47 °C), Las Vegas, Nevada, was one degree shy of its all-time record set in 2005 and 1942.[2]

St. George, Utah, reached 118 °F (48 °C) on July 5, according to the local weather station as mentioned in the front page of the July 6 edition of The Salt Lake Tribune,[3] which would be the highest temperature ever-recorded in Utah.[2]

Eastern Oregon set 15 different record highs on July 5.[4]

There were 11 days of triple digit temperatures in Missoula, Montana, almost double the previous record of 6 days for the month of July.[5]

Temperatures[edit]

Many major cities experienced prolonged intense and unusual heat in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.[6] It was the hottest July on record for the entire states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, and second hottest for Nevada.[7] [8]

City Highest temperature
recorded or forecast
Date achieved
or projected
Normal temperature Deviation
from normal
Edmonton, Alberta 90 °F (32 °C) July 5 73 °F (23 °C) +17 °F (+9 °C)
Lethbridge, Alberta 100 °F (37.8 °C)[1] July 23 77 °F (25 °C) +23 °F (+ 13 °C)
Medicine Hat, Alberta 100 °F (37.9 °C) [2] July 6 81 °F (27 °C) + 19 °F (+ 11 °C)
Regina, Saskatchewan 99 °F (37.2 °C) [3] July 6 77 °F (25 °C) + 22 °F (+12 °C)
Val Marie, Saskatchewan 105 °F (41 °C) July 23 82 °F (28 °C) +23 °F (+12 °C)
Abbotsford, British Columbia 95 °F (35 °C) July 10 76 °F (24 °C) + 19 °F (+11 °C)
Seattle, Washington 94 °F (34 °C) July 11 76 °F (24 °C) +18 °F (+10 °C)
Portland, Oregon 102 °F (39 °C) July 10 79 °F (26 °C) +23 °F (+13 °C)
Sacramento, California 107 °F (42 °C) July 5 94 °F (34 °C) +13 °F (+8 °C)
Boise, Idaho 106 °F (41 °C) July 6 90 °F (32 °C) +16 °F (+9 °C)
Missoula, Montana 107 °F (42 °C) July 6 83 °F (28 °C) +24 °F (+13 °C)
Jackson, Wyoming 91 °F (33 °C) July 6 79 °F (26 °C) +12 °F (+7 °C)
Salt Lake City, Utah 102 °F (39 °C) July 6 89 °F (32 °C) +13 °F (+7 °C)
Denver, Colorado 97 °F (36 °C) June 25 87 °F (31 °C) +10 °F (+8 °C)
Las Vegas, Nevada 116 °F (47 °C) July 5 105 °F (41 °C) +11 °F (+6 °C)
Phoenix, Arizona 115 °F (46 °C) July 4 104 °F (40 °C) +11 °F (+6 °C)
Santa Fe, New Mexico 96 °F (36 °C) July 1 83 °F (28 °C) +13 °F (+8 °C)
Death Valley, California 127 °F (53 °C) July 6 115 °F (46 °C) +12 °F (+7 °C)

Heat related deaths[edit]

Six suspected illegal immigrants died in the deserts of Arizona as a result of the heat.[9]

In Orofino, Idaho, a one-year-old boy was found dead locked in a car.[2]

Cities in California opened cooling centers as power companies declared a stage 1 emergency.

Wildfires, deaths, and freeway closures[edit]

Much of the western U.S. is in "extreme drought"

Firefighters blamed the heat and existing record-breaking drought for dozens of wildfires in the West.

The area was in the midst of an unusual drought; in Los Angeles, California, with only 3.21 in (82 mm) of precipitation in the entire 2006-2007 rain season, it was, at that time, the driest year on record, receiving less rain than Death Valley in a normal year.[10]

Wildfires, such as the destructive Angora Fire, killed dozens, forced the closure of major freeways, and destroyed homes.

In central Utah, the largest wildfire in state history consumed 283,000 acres (1,150 km2) or 468 square miles (114,526 hectares) and forced the closure of I-15 and I-70.[11]

In northeastern Utah a wildfire moving at the speed of 30 mph (50 km/h) killed three men on a farm.[12]

Portions of suburban Salt Lake City in Herriman were forced to evacuate as fires threatened their homes.

I-80 was closed in northern Nevada as fires burned a combined total of 55 square miles (144 square kilometres) and forced evacuations near Winnemucca.[13]

Damage to wildlife and lifestock[edit]

The extreme heat warmed rivers in Yellowstone resulting in the deaths of hundreds of trout.[14]

The high temperatures and drought destroyed crops and stressed cattle in Montana.[15]

References[edit]

See also[edit]