Dozens of heat records could fall this weekend as an already intense heat wave in the Southwest reaches its boiling point, with temperatures nearing 130 degrees Fahrenheit in some places.
At least 93 million people in the United States are under heat warnings and advisories Friday, from the West Coast to South Florida. Conditions are expected to intensify over the weekend, with triple-digit temperatures expected across much of the country.
In his forecast discussion posted Friday morning, the National Weather Service warned that a «scorching heat wave is about to engulf much of the West Coast, the Great Basin, and the Southwest.»
A stationary heat dome over the Southwest has been baking the region for more than two weeks, but temperatures are expected to rise heading into the weekend.
On Saturday, parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, inland California and Texas will range from 105 to 115 F, while temperatures in desert parts of the region could exceed 120 F, according to the weather service.
Studies have shown that climate change is increasing the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme heat events.
In California’s Death Valley, temperatures are forecast to hit nearly 130 F, which would rank it among the hottest temperatures ever recorded on Earth.
Arizona is also bracing for record heat this weekend. Phoenix, which has already sweltered for 13 straight days at 110 F or higher, temperatures are forecast to rise as high as 118 F over the weekend. On Tuesday, the city is poised to tie the current record set in 1974 of 18 consecutive days at 110 F or higher, and is expected to continue to exceed the milestone.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas is forecast to hit 117 F on Sunday, which would tie the city record for hottest temperature.
Local officials urged people to take proper precautions to cope with extreme heat, including staying hydrated, checking in on heat-sensitive friends and family, and avoiding outdoor activities, especially during the hottest hours of the day.
“This heat wave is NOT typical desert heat due to its long duration, extreme daytime temperatures and warm nights. Everyone needs to take this heat seriously, including those who live in the desert,» representatives of the Las Vegas weather service office. he tweeted on thursday.
Hot and humid conditions will engulf much of the South as well, stretching from Texas through the Lower Mississippi Valley to Florida. Heat index values, which represent temperatures felt when humidity and air temperature are combined, are expected to reach triple digits in these regions, with parts of Texas and Louisiana experiencing heat index values of up to 115F
The weather service added that «morning lows in the southern US will remain exceptionally warm, providing little relief to these affected regions.»
Meanwhile, most of southern Europe is also experiencing oppressively high heat and humidity.
Triple-digit temperatures are forecast in parts of Spain, Italy and Greece, with the heat expected to pick up next week.
In Athens, where temperatures reached 104 F, Greek officials were forced to lock down the Acropolis between noon and 5 p.m., the hottest time of the day. BBC news reported.
Dangerous heat waves are also gripping North Africa, China and Japan in what has already been a hot summer across the Northern Hemisphere.