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The Summer 2017 North American Heat Wave was one of the most severe heat waves in modern North American history. It lasted from June 24 to September 6, 2017, spreading extreme heat and record temperatures across much of North America. It coincided with the 2015-19 North American Drought, which was one of the most severe droughts in modern North American history. The heat alone resulted in nearly 10,000 deaths, and the resultant September 2017 Mega Outbreak resulted in nearly 500 more deaths. The heat wave was the most severe on record for 44 U.S. states, eight Canadian provinces, and five Mexican provinces, and was one of the most severe on record for many other areas.

The heat wave began on June 24, when a dome of extremely high pressure moved over the West Coast of the United States. This allowed an area of extreme heat to build, and thousands of records were broken over the next week. Areas as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia reached 38°C (100°F) , and temperatures across much of California, Oregon, and even parts of eastern Washington reached 120°F (49°C) or higher. Parts of the Desert Southwest climbed above 130°F (54°C). The high temperature in Furnace Creek, California was 138°F (59°C) on June 28, breaking the previous world record of 133°F (56°C) set in Abalessa, Algeria on June 7, 1983.

As the dome of high pressure moved east, the extreme heat moved with it. During the week of July 3, the Mountain West experienced extreme heat and thousands of record temperatures were set. Some areas reached 120°F (49°C), and for the first time on record, the Rocky Mountain snow pack entirely melted, with snow even on the highest peaks of the range melting as record highs and many record warm lows were set across the region.

As the extreme heat continued to travel eastward, the American Midwest and the Canadian Prairie began to experience extreme heat and record temperatures. Locations as far north as Winnipeg, Manitoba reached 49°C (120°F), and some locations approached 130°F (54°C). The high temperature in Estevan, Saskatchewan was 51°C (124°F) on July 13, setting a new all-time record high for Canada.

During late July and early August, much of Eastern North America experienced extreme heat and record temperatures. High temperatures reached 110°F (43°C) as far north as Rochester, New York, and some areas of the Deep South climbed over 120°F (49°C). During mid-August, the high pressure shifted east, bringing extreme heat and record temperatures to Atlantic Canada. Many locations reached 38°C (100°F), and some even approached 43°C (110°F).

The Summer 2017 North American Heat Wave was one of the most severe heat waves in modern North American history, spreading extreme heat across much of North America and setting hundreds of thousands of record temperatures. This heat wave, along with the dry conditions and many other hot summers and mild winters, make the 2010s remembered as a very hot and dry decade across most of North America.

Meteorological History

Origins

The Summer 2017 North American Heat Wave began on June 24, when a dome of extremely high pressure that originated over the Pacific moved over the West Coast. This allowed an area of extreme heat to build, and soon record-setting heat stretched from Mexico to Canada. The high temperature in Vancouver, Canada was 38°C (100°F) on June 27, setting an all-time record high temperature for the city. Seattle reached 110°F (43°C) on the same day, also an all-time record high temperature for that city. Much of California, Oregon, and eastern Washington reached 120°F (49°C), and some areas even higher. In parts of the Desert Southwest, high temperatures climbed over 130°F (54°C). The high temperature in Furnace Creek, California was 138°F (59°C) on June 28, breaking the previous world record of 133°F (56°C) set in Abalessa, Algeria on June 7, 1983.

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