The West’s Punishing Summer Heat Dries Out Thunderstorms and Fuels Raging Wildfires.
Another scorching summer heat wave was set to peak across portions of the western United States early this week, with air so dry that rain from thunderstorms evaporated before reaching the ground and smoke from wildfires delayed hundreds of flights at one of the region’s largest airports. From a report: Temperatures reached the upper 90s and lower 100s in parts of the Northern Rockies on Monday, and forecasters warned of “dry thunderstorms,” which bring lightning that can spark fires, but no rain to quench them. It was the fourth major heat wave to afflict parts of the West since early June, bringing dangerously hot temperatures and helping fuel the deepening drought and exploding wildfires across the region. An excessive heat warning was also in effect for parts of Montana and Wyoming through Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

Glasgow, a town in northern Montana, hit 110 degrees on Monday, the Weather Service said. By 2:45 p.m. local time, Billings, toward the southern portion of the state, was officially hotter than Death Valley, Calif., at 110.4 degrees. Weather officials in Billings took advantage of the toasty temperatures and baked a batch of cookies on the dashboard of a car. “It may have taken 5 hours but we have fully baked cookies,” they shared on Twitter. Lander, in central Wyoming, reached a record 100 degrees on Monday, according to the Weather Service. In 130 years, it was only the 21st day in Lander to reach triple digits. Parts of Idaho, including Boise and Twin Falls, saw much needed rain showers.

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