As a heat wave sweeps across the U.S., temperatures from Kalispell to West Glacier are hitting record highs and sparking safety warnings from area meteorologists.
A heat advisory for Northwest Montana was in effect through July 3, with forecasted temperatures approaching 100 degrees.
The National Weather Service’s mercury thermometer at Glacier Park International Airport reported 94 degrees at 6 p.m. on July 1. The previous high for that day was 92 degrees, set in 1987.
A co-operative station in West Glacier reported a temperature of 95 degrees, which would surpass the previous high of 94 degrees set in 2008. A similar co-op observer in Eureka reported 99 degrees at one location on Monday, which would break the 2008 high of 96. Libby hit 98 degrees, approaching the previous high of 104 set in 1924.
The last time Kalispell experienced triple-digit heat was July 6, 2007, according to the NWS. Kalispell has reached 100 degrees or hotter only 12 times since records were first kept in 1899.
Excessive heat is the No. 1 weather killer in the U.S. and it’s at its most dangerous when it doesn’t cool down at night, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“The cumulative heat stress to humans and animals during such an extended period can be fatal if not mitigated,” the NWS advisory stated.
Kalispell’s temperature on June 30 — 90 degrees — nearly broke the 2008 record of 94 degrees.
The remainder of the holiday week could see a few long-standings records fall. The record high for July 2 was 95 degrees in 1924. The record high on July 3 was 94 degrees in 1922.
A dry weather system is expected to hit the valley on Independence Day, which could result in lower temperatures and isolated thunderstorms, according to NWS.
The nation is in the midst of a significant heat wave, with “dangerously high temperatures” in much of the western U.S., according to the NWS.
High-temperature records were shattered across the region, from California up to Oregon. June was the third hottest in Salt Lake City history and experienced a record high for June of 105, set last weekend. Las Vegas just wrapped up its hottest June ever, with average temperatures of 115. Farmers in Oregon reported dying sheep due to the blistering heat.
California’s Death Valley reached 129 degrees on Sunday, the nation’s hottest June temperature ever recorded. On July 10, Death Valley is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the hottest temperature ever recorded on the planet, 134 degrees. In San Diego County, Campo set a record with 107 degrees.
The lack of nighttime cooling in many areas is another cause for concern.
The elderly and children are at the highest risk when temperatures spike. The elderly made up 36 percent of heat deaths in the past decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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