Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Upper air weather pattern projected on Sunday, July 18, showing a heat dome over the central Rockies and unusually hot conditions across the West and especially in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada. (Weathermodels.com)

The next in a series of relentless heat waves is taking shape across parts of the West and northern Plains, with temperatures set to vault into the triple-digits once again from Idaho and Montana north into Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Why it matters: The West has already been extremely hot so far this summer, with a series of heat waves of unparalleled intensity for some regions.

The heat waves have combined with drought conditions to yield massive, rapidly spreading wildfires from Washington state to California and eastward into Idaho. A staggering 64% of the West is mired in "extreme" to "exceptional" drought conditions, the top two worst categories, per the U.S. Drought Monitor.

  • Though the next event won't be as far-reaching in scope as the previous heat waves, it has the potential to significantly escalate the West's wildfire woes.

How it works: With extreme drought conditions firmly in place across the West, the region is locked in a positive feedback where the dryness helps heat the atmosphere, which only dries conditions out more, thereby adding to the heat.

  • During June and July, a series of strong upper level high pressure areas, colloquially known as heat domes, have set up in different positions of the West. First, one took up residence over the Southwest, sending temperatures soaring well into the triple digits in Phoenix and Las Vegas.
  • Then in late June into early July, an extraordinarily strong and persistent heat dome became anchored over the Pacific Northwest, drifting slowly across southwestern Canada over time.
  • That heat event yielded highs of 116°F in Portland, 108°F in Seattle, and a Canadian record of 121°F in Lytton, British Columbia. The day after that temperature was recorded in Lytton, the small town was destroyed by a wildfire.
  • A study concluded that heat wave was "virtually impossible" without human-caused global warming spurred by the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other factors.
  • In between, other heat domes have come and gone across California, keeping hotter-than-average temperatures in place. As river and reservoir levels drop in the state, water temperatures are heating up, killing fish species.
  • The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has said it expects that nearly all young chinook salmon in the Sacramento River could die this summer due to unusually hot temperatures.

What's next: Over the weekend, the next heat dome is forecast to develop over the northern Rockies, extending its influence northward into southern Canada.

  • In Billings, Mont., an excessive heat watch is in place for "dangerously hot conditions with temperatures climbing from near 100°F Saturday to 103 to 106°F by Monday." Nighttime lows won't provide much relief there, either, with temperatures only sliding to near 70°F.
  • The typical high temperature for Billings on July 15 is about 88°F with a low near 60°F.
  • Similarly, temperatures in Idaho are predicted to climb into the triple digits, along with Utah and North Dakota.
  • Canada may see the most extreme temperatures, however, with highs up to 40°F above average for this time of year.

Of note: The heat wave may be prolonged in some areas, particularly in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where triple-digit highs could be seen through next weekend.

  • From time to time, the thickness of wildfire smoke could hold temperatures down a few degrees below projected levels.

What they're saying: "Most of the West is a tinderbox right now and if dry lightning or human actions lead to even more fires, the potential for explosive growth is seriously concerning," said Steve Bowen, head of catastrophe insight at Aon, highlighting the likelihood for the next heat wave to instigate more blazes.

Go deeper

Southwest drought is worst on record, NOAA finds

In a stark new report, a team of NOAA and independent researchers found the 2020-2021 drought across the Southwest is the worst in the instrumental record, which dates to 1895.

Why it matters: They also concluded that global warming is making it far more severe, primarily by increasing average temperatures, which boosts evaporation.

Newsom signs $15 billion package to fight climate change

Gov. Gavin Newsom Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $15 billion climate package on Thursday as California wildfires threaten more sequoias at Sequoia National Park.

Why it matters: The package is the largest such investment in California history as drought conditions have worsened across the state and led to numerous wildfires. More than 1.9 million acres have burned across the state this year, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, including over 220,000 in the Caldor fire last month.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.