Monday, 27 Sep 2021

50 million braced for extreme heat in US south west with highs of 120F

More than 50 million people in the western US have been warned to expect extreme heat over the coming days with temperatures set to hit 120F (49C).

Eight states including California and Montana are under excessive heat warnings as forecasters predict heat records that have stood for more than 100 years to be beaten by the searing heatwave.

Highs could reach up to 30 degrees above average, NBC reported, and around 200 daily record highs are possible by the end of the week. The records that could be smashed include monthly and all-time record highs, especially in parts of the desert southwest, where highs of 127F are possible.

Thousands are also facing warnings of wildfires and officials in California and Texas are urging residents to conserve power to prevent rolling blackouts.

Denver, Colorado hit 101F and Helena, Montana hit 104F on Monday. Records Billings, Montana were broken by at least five degrees, and temperatures in the southwest rocketed to above 110F. 

Safford, Arizona saw a record-high of 113F on Monday, while Tucson saw 112F and temperatures in Las Vegas, Nevada soared to 111F, according to Praedictix Weather. 

Salt Lake City also saw record-highs on Tuesday, at 106F, Jamie McGriff, an anchor at KUTV said on Twitter. The previous record for the area for June was 105F.

Meanwhile Coachella Valley, California a high of 110F was logged on Tuesday and both Palm Springs and Thermal could reach 120F by Friday.

If that happens Palm Springs would break its current record of 117F in 2017 and Thermal would break its 2015 record of 119F, according to the Desert Sun. 

Marvin Percha, a senior forecaster at the National Weather Service’s Phoenix office, said such high temperatures are unusually for this time of the year.

He said: ‘It is kind of early to see temperatures this high, that’s for sure’.

Percha added that the high pressure dome combined with the land’s lack of moisture caused by extreme drought has combined to create a blistering heatwave that will only get worse as the week progresses.

‘What is unusual is the strength and the duration’ of the high pressure system, he said.

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