Dozens of heat records could fall this weekend as an already intense heat wave reaches its boiling point in the Southwest, with temperatures approaching 130 degrees Fahrenheit in some places.
At least 93 million people in the United States are under heat warnings and advisories Friday, extending across the West Coast to southern Florida. Conditions are expected to intensify over the weekend, with temperatures expected to dip into the triple digits in large parts of the country.
In its forecast discussion on Friday morning, The National Weather Service has issued a warning “The heat wave will affect the West Coast, Great Basin and much of the Southwest.”
A heat dome parked in the southwest has been baking the region for more than two weeks, but temperatures are expected to rise over the weekend.
On Saturday, interior temperatures in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, California and Texas will range from 105 to 115 F, while temperatures in desert locations across the region will exceed 120 F, according to the weather service.
Studies show that climate change is increasing the frequency, intensity and duration of extreme heat events.
In California’s Death Valley, temperatures are predicted to reach nearly 130 F, making it one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded on Earth.
Arizona is also facing record heat this weekend. Phoenix, which has already had 13 consecutive days of 110 F or higher, is forecast to reach 118 F over the weekend. On Tuesday, the city is poised to tie the current record of 18 consecutive days of 110 F or higher set in 1974, and is expected to continue surpassing the milestone.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas is forecast to reach 117 F on Sunday, tying the city’s record for hottest temperature.
Local officials urged people to take proper precautions to deal with the intense heat, including staying hydrated, checking on heat-sensitive friends and family, and avoiding outdoor activities, especially during the hottest parts of the day.
“This heat wave is not a typical desert heat wave due to its long duration, extreme daytime temperatures and warm nights. Everyone, including desert dwellers, should take this heat seriously,” said representatives from the Weather Service’s Las Vegas office. tweeted on Thursday.
Warm and humid conditions will envelop much of the South, stretching from Texas to the lower Mississippi Valley and Florida. Heat index values — the combination of humidity and air temperature that represent the “feeling” temperature — are expected to be well into the triple digits in these regions, with parts of Texas and Louisiana experiencing heat index values as high as 115 F.
“Morning lows will be exceptionally warm across the southern tier of the United States, bringing no relief to these affected areas,” the weather service added.
Meanwhile, much of southern Europe is experiencing oppressively high heat and humidity.
Temperatures in the triple digits are forecast for parts of Spain, Italy and Greece, with temperatures expected to increase over the next week.
In Athens, temperatures soared to 104 F, forcing Greek authorities to close the Acropolis from noon to 5 p.m., the hottest time of the day. The BBC reported.
Dangerous heat waves are also ravaging North Africa, China and Japan in what has already been the hottest summer in the Northern Hemisphere.