California faces a “winter heat wave” in the middle of February

A “winter heat wave”? Since the beginning of February, California has been facing an unprecedented heat wave. In the San Francisco area, more than 28.3°C were recorded, smashing a record set in 2018 at 27.2°C. In question, a very hot wind and extremely low humidity. In Los Angeles alone, between 30 and 32 degrees are expected on Saturday February 12.

A few hours before the Super Bowl, organized in the State of California, a few outbreaks of fire have been recorded by the fire services. In the north of the state, temperatures are slightly lower. Nevertheless, they are on average more than 10 degrees above the seasonal average, as noted by our colleagues from World. In San Francisco, for example, the mercury crossed 25.5°C February 10, the highest since 1986. A phenomenon described as “winter heat wave” by some local meteorologists.

“Right now you have this high pressure system and drier conditions on the surface (…). We live on a planet whose climate we have warmed up, so just from a purely statistical point of view, we are going to attend a record increase“, explains Justin Mankin, climate scientist at the American University of Dartmouth.

A start to the fire season?

It must be said that these temperatures are not the only element that worries Californians. At least 32 consecutive days without any precipitation was observed in the state located in the eastern United States. And this, after record snowfalls last December, and torrential rains in October.

Result, the outbreaks of fires multiply. “What prevents fires is rain, precipitation. And this kind of heat phenomenon tends to suggest that there is a risk of having a very early start to the California wildfire season“, estimates the expert. In 2021, more than a million hectares of vegetation burned in California, the second worst annual toll in its history.

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