Brutal heat wave to hit western US (with forecast video)

Tractor-trailer heading down highway with bright sun on the dusk/dawn horizon.

Dangerously hot weather, even by local standards, will envelop portions of four western states over the next several days.

SONAR Critical Events: Thursday, August 13, 2020, 5 a.m. EDT; Western heat wave

When FreightWaves first reported on this potential heat wave on Monday, August 10, it looked like it would only affect southern Arizona and the deserts of southeastern California. Now, it’s likely the heat will spread across a large part of California, southern Oregon and southern Nevada.

High temperatures today through at least next Monday, August 17, will reach 110 to 125 degrees in many of the desert locations. These temperatures are 10 degrees or more above average for mid-August. High will be well into the 90s in coastal sections of southern California.

The National Weather Service (NWS) began issuing additional excessive heat watches and warnings yesterday.

An excessive heat warning means that a period of very hot temperatures, even by local standards, will occur. Warning areas include Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, El Centro, Death Valley, Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno and Las Vegas, in addition to most of the Los Angeles and San Diego metropolitan areas. Watch areas stretch from Stockton, California to Medford, Oregon.

According to the latest FreightWaves data, the extreme heat will hit three of the busiest trucking markets of Reefer Outbound Tender Volumes (ROTRI): Ontario, Fresno and Stockton.

The map directly below shows these markets in dark blue, indicating high levels of reefer loads being offered by shippers. This indicates that many drivers could be heading to these areas to pick up temperature-sensitive reefer freight, like liquids and produce.


Drivers should be extra careful about setting their trailers at the proper internal temperatures. Also, because the extreme heat can put extra stress on their bodies and their trucks, drivers heading into the heat wave should spend as little time outside their trucks as possible, and make sure their trucks are in tip-top shape so their air conditioning doesn’t break down.

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