KINGMAN – Kingman was under an extreme heat warning Monday and that could be repeated many times during June.
“The issuance of extreme heat alerts varies from place to place,” said Randy Cerveny, professor of geography at Arizona State University. “It’s based on how much heat is expected and what local people are used to, so you can have extreme heat advisories in different parts of the country without having the same temperatures.”
The extreme heat warning for northwest Arizona on Monday was issued by the National Weather Service office in Las Vegas.
Staff meteorologist Charlie Schlott said the alert is issued for elevations below 4,000 feet whenever the temperature is expected to reach or surpass 105 degrees.
“People should remain inside with air conditioning and limit outdoors activity as much as possible,” Schlott said. “The elderly and animals should be checked on periodically, and don’t leave pets or children in cars for any length of time.”
A high-pressure ridge stationary over the southwest is responsible for the extreme heat. It allows for clear skies, although a small amount of moisture is making its way into southeast Arizona from Mexico and could indicate the summer monsoon is on the way, Cerveny said.
“The heat we’re getting is normal for this time of year, so I don’t expect to see a lot of movement of the high-pressure ridge during June,” Cerveny said. “As it sits on top of the Four Corners region, we will begin to see more moisture coming up from Mexico and temperatures will begin to reduce a little bit, but typically this is our hottest time of year.”
Schlott said Monday the high-pressure ridge is a little stronger than normal this year and larger.
It stretches from off the coast of Southern California across Arizona, New Mexico and into west Texas.
Some moisture is being seen over the northern Baja peninsula and a wind flow switching to the south could bring scattered thunderstorms by Wednesday into Mohave County and southern Nevada, Schlott said.
However, he cautioned any thunderstorms are likely to be of the “dry” variety,” meaning wind and lightning that could trigger brush fires and little actual rainfall.
People venturing outdoors during days of extreme heat need to wear light clothing and sunglasses, Schlott said. They also should drink plenty of water and avoid liquids containing caffeine or alcohol that can hasten dehydration.
“Do whatever you need to do in the morning or evening,” Cerveny said. “Try to avoid the hottest time of day, which is not right at noon but between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.”
Thursday looks to hold the best chance of rain in the Kingman area and that is no better than slight, Cerveny said.
“We’re presently looking at the possibility of dry thunderstorms with winds, cloud buildup and not much rain,” he said.
“What has to happen as we have storms pumping up moisture from Mexico the atmosphere gets wetter and wetter so by the first few weeks of July we begin to get wet thunderstorms.”
Meteorologists generally agree that the dew point must be 55 degrees or higher for three straight days to signal the start of the monsoon in Arizona.
The dew point is the temperature to which air must cool so dew can form. It is a measure of how much water is in the atmosphere and is capable of triggering wet thunderstorms, Cerveny said.