The “Ridge of Death” thermal dome is expected to burn much of the United States
(NEXSTAR) – A strong ridge of high pressure is expected to bring intense heat to many of the lower 48 states as we close July.
Meteorologists expect a phenomenon similar to the one that caused deadly triple-digit temperatures in the Pacific Northwest last month to start forming again near the same region as early as Monday. But the so-called heated dome won’t stay in place in Portland and Seattle during the week.
“Most of the Americas will be under this huge, high-pressure thermal dome,” said meteorologist Gerard Jebaily of NewsNation. “Meteorologists affectionately call it a death crest. It won’t rain fire and brimstone or anything. It gets its name from the fact that the air flowing under the dome at high pressure suppresses the activity of showers and thunderstorms and the air becomes hot and stagnant.
A heat dome often forms when the jet stream is not strong enough to push the weather across the continent, allowing the high pressure to sit over an area where hot air has a chance to flow to. the surface. Unlike the scorching heat of the past month, this dome is expected to hit the center of the country hardest.
“The hardest hit areas will be the central Dakota plains down to Texas, but the thermal dome will rest partially over the Pacific Northwest and possibly move closer to the region,” Jebaily said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature forecast for the end of June shows a high likelihood of above-average temperatures for the entire continental United States outside of Arizona and the northeast. .
Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann recently told The Associated Press that the number of jet stream stalls in the northern hemisphere fell about six times per summer in the early years. 1980 about eight times a summer now.
“We have shown that climate change is making these blocked summer jets more frequent,” Mann told the AP.
NOAA has warned that persistent high temperatures will exacerbate drought problems in the West.
AP reports on the National Interagency Fire Center figures show that from 2011 to 2020, an average of 7.5 million acres burned in wildfires each year. This is more than double the average of 3.6 million acres per year from 1991 to 2000.
“This would worsen the already very active forest fire season as temperatures rise to around 105 to 108 degrees. Desperately needed rains will also continue to be scarce, making the conditions for fighting the fires already difficult, unbearable, ”Jebaily warned, who said. more simply on Twitter, “The West just can’t take a break. “
Longer-term NOAA projections show a trend or hot, dry skies that are likely to persist for the next three months.