Western U.S. Wilts in Record Heat Wave
The western U.S. is baking in temperatures of up to 130 degrees, raising the threat of more wildfires, authorities warned over the weekend.
Forecasters predicted that Death Valley, already known as the hottest place on Earth, was going to outdo itself by setting a second world record about 100 years after setting the first. Temperatures are expected to hit 130 degrees on Sunday and Monday June 30 and July 1, AccuWeather reported.
The record to beat is 134 degrees, which was hit in the aptly named town of Furnace Creek on July 10, 1913. Death Valley’s highest record of all time is from June 29, 1994, when it was 128 degrees.
Authorities issued health warnings as most of California remained under a heat warning through Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported. The state has not seen a heat wave like this since 2009, said Stuart Seto, a forecaster at the National Weather Service, to the Los Angeles Times.
The heat sent dozens to the hospital in Las Vegas on Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported. The National Interagency Fire Center was concerned that wildfires could erupt in the tinder-dry Four Corners region, where Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona meet. A high-pressure system was scheduled to park itself over that region, said fire center spokesperson Jennifer Smith to the Associated Press.
Elsewhere in the west, temperatures were expected to hit 115 to 120 degrees in parts of Arizona and Nevada as well as California, the AP reported. Las Vegas could see a match to its standing record of 117 degrees, as could Phoenix, the AP said. The heat was expected to reach all the way into Northern California, with high temperatures hitting the triple digits even inland in Sacramento. Similar predictions were in effect in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, AP said.
“Cities in Washington state that are better known for cool, rainy weather should break the 90s next week,” the wire service reported. “The heat was so punishing that rangers took up positions at trailheads at Lake Mead in Nevada to persuade people not to hike. Zookeepers in Phoenix hosed down the elephants and fed tigers frozen fish snacks. Dogs were at risk of burning their paws on scorched pavement, and airlines kept close watch on the heat for fear that it could cause flights to be delayed.”