Heatwave puts a third of Americans under heat warnings: NPR

Heatwave puts a third of Americans under heat warnings: NPR

People walk through sand dunes near a sign warning of the danger of extreme heat in Death Valley National Park on Saturday.

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People walk through sand dunes near a sign warning of the danger of extreme heat in Death Valley National Park on Saturday.

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A heat wave escalated across the western United States over the weekend, with millions of Americans expected to see record temperatures.

With temperature advisories continuing into the next week, residents of the West Coast and Southwest may not feel great for several days.

About a third of Americans were under extreme heat warnings, watches or advisories over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service, after the persistent dome of heat hovering over Texas extended into California, Nevada and Arizona.

Extreme temperatures are expected to peak on Sunday in those states, with temperatures in some desert areas expected to reach nearly 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

“We have been talking about this increasing heat wave for a week, and now the most intense period begins,” the weather service said on Friday.

Local public health officials across the country are urging people to seek cool shelter and check on neighbors.

Some of the hottest places in the United States may see their hottest day on record

A person protects himself from the sun with a rainbow umbrella during a heat wave in Tucson, Arizona, on Saturday.

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A person protects himself from the sun with a rainbow umbrella during a heat wave in Tucson, Arizona, on Saturday.

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While Las Vegas residents are accustomed to scorching temperatures, meteorologists say they shouldn't underestimate the dangers of this days-long heat wave.

“This heat wave is not a typical desert heat due to its long duration, extreme daytime temperatures, and warm nights. Everyone should take this heat seriously, including those who live in the desert.” The National Weather Service in Las Vegas warned In a tweet.

The temperature in Las Vegas could reach 117 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, tying the city's all-time record.

The heat wave there has already sent people to hospitals. An emergency room doctor reported treating dehydrated tourists, as well as a passed out elderly resident who kept the thermostat at 80 degrees to cut electricity costs. Local health officials have seen at least seven heat-related deaths this year.

In nearby Death Valley, California, one of the hottest places on Earth, the temperature reached… 128 degrees Sunday afternoon, surpassing the daily record by one degree.

In West Texas, an extreme heat warning remained in effect for Big Bend National Park. “These are extremely dangerous and deadly temperatures! Hikers should stay off the trails in the afternoon,” officials said.

After days of brutal heat, Phoenix hit 118 degrees On Saturday, the highest daily temperature record was broken by one degree. Phoenix appears set to break its longest recorded stretch of 110 degrees or higher — an 18-day period, set in 1974 — with forecasts to match or exceed record daily highs. Until Wednesday at least.

“This weekend, there will be some of the most dangerous and hottest conditions we have ever seen,” David Hondola, the city’s chief heat response official, told the AP. “It is time for maximum societal vigilance.”

So far this year, heat has killed at least 12 people in Phoenix.

Maricopa County, where Phoenix is ​​located, has about 200 cooling centers, hydration stations and rest sites. Hondola said in an interview Friday with NBC Meet the press That cities like his could benefit from federal money to keep the centers better staffed and open longer.

The central and southern states are still suffering from dangerously high temperatures. A large area of ​​southern Texas was under Heat warning on SundayWhile the coastal area surrounding Corpus Christi was under an excessive heat warning.

in south florida, Miami-Dade County An extreme heat warning was placed on Sunday, with temperatures in the coastal area expected to reach 110 degrees. This is the first time in history that such a warning has been issued for the region. According to the district's chief thermal officer.

The United States is now experiencing temperatures similar to those seen in the heat waves that struck Europe last year. More than 61,000 people died due to heat in Europe during that period, according to a recently published study. week.

What caused this recent heat wave?

There are several factors that lead to higher temperatures. The recent arrival of El Niño, a natural weather pattern characterized by warmer temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, is leading to hotter weather around the world.

The El Niño phenomenon, which coincides with the hottest years on record, exacerbates the effects of climate change, including warmer temperatures, caused by the burning of fossil fuels and other greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet.

Climate change could make heat domes — a phenomenon that creates heat waves like these — more frequent and more intense. A heat dome occurs when high pressure in Earth's atmosphere traps hot ocean air away from the sun like a hot air balloon.

NPR's Nathan Root contributed to this report.

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