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Scorching heat keeps grip on Southwest US as records tumble

Scorching heat keeps grip on Southwest US as records tumble
7 June 2024 16:55


The first heat wave of the year is expected to maintain its grip on the US Southwest for at least another day on Friday. Associated Press reported that records tumbled across the region with temperatures soaring past 43°C from California to Arizona.

Although the official start of summer is still two weeks away, roughly half of Arizona and Nevada were under an excessive heat alert, which the National Weather Service extended until Friday evening.

The alert was extended through Saturday in Las Vegas, where it has never been hotter this early in the year.

“High temperatures as much as 10 to 15 degrees above normal can be expected, with record high temperatures likely for some sites through Friday," the weather service in Las Vegas said. Temperatures will slowly retreat over the weekend, but will remain above normal into early next week.

The National Weather Service in Phoenix, where the new record high of 45°C on Thursday leap-frogged the old mark of 44°C set in 2016, called the conditions “dangerously hot.”

There were no immediate reports of any heat-related deaths or serious injuries.

And in Las Vegas, with a new record of 43.8°C on Thursday that also equalled the earliest time of year the high reached at least 43.3°C, the Clark County Fire Department said it had responded to at least 12 calls for heat exposure since midnight Wednesday. Nine of those calls resulted in a patient needing hospital treatment.

Several other areas of Arizona, California and Nevada also broke records by a degree or two, including Death Valley National Park with a record high for the date of 50°C topping the 49.4°C dating to 1996 in the desert that sits 194 feet (59 metres) below sea level near the California-Nevada line. Records there date to 1911.

The heat has arrived weeks earlier than usual even in places farther to the north at higher elevations — areas typically a dozen degrees cooler. That includes Reno, where the normal high of 27°C for this time of year soared to a record 37°C on Thursday. Records there date to 1888.

The National Weather Service forecast mild cooling regionwide this weekend, but only by a few degrees. In central and southern Arizona, that will still mean triple-digit highs, even up to 43°C.

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