US braces for historic heat wave threatening 130M nationwide

US braces for historic heat wave threatening 130M nationwide

Dangerous extreme heat set to break records across US, forecasters warn

By Gizem Nisa Cebi

ISTANBUL (AA) - A massive heat wave is sweeping across the US, placing approximately 130 million people under severe heat advisories from the Pacific Northwest to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, Voice of America reported Saturday.

This extreme weather event is poised to break numerous temperature records nationwide, forecasters have warned, according to the international radio broadcaster of the US, Voice of America.

Jacob Asherman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS), has warned of oppressive heat and humidity pushing temperatures past 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in various regions, including Oregon, where cities like Eugene, Portland, and Salem may see unprecedented highs.

"Dozens of other records throughout the US could fall, causing millions to seek relief from the blanket of heat in cooling centers from Bullhead City, Arizona, to Norfolk, Virginia," Asherman noted.

The NWS extended an excessive heat warning for much of the Southwest into Friday.

"A dangerous and historic heat wave is just getting started across the area, with temperatures expected to peak during the Sunday-Wednesday timeframe," the NWS in Las Vegas, Nevada, stated in an updated forecast.

Las Vegas reached 100F (37.7C) by 10.30 a.m. (1730GMT) Saturday.

Phoenix also experienced record-breaking temperatures, hitting 118F (47.7C) on Friday.

Meteorologists expect daily high temperatures across the lower deserts to range from 115 to 120F (46.1 to 48.8C) through the week.

Even the typically cooler elevations around Lake Tahoe are under rare heat advisories, with the NWS in Reno, Nevada, warning of "major heat risk impacts, even in the mountains."

Death Valley, known for its extreme temperatures, set a new record of 127F (52.8 C) on Friday, surpassing the previous record of 122F (50C) in 2013. Palm Springs, California, also broke its record, reaching 124F (51.1C).

Forecasts predict extreme highs, potentially reaching 130F (54.4C) in Furnace Creek, Death Valley National Park, by mid-week.

The hottest temperature ever officially recorded on Earth was 134F (56.67C) in Death Valley in July 1913, though some experts dispute this measurement and acknowledge a more recent record of 130F (54.4 C) in July 2021.

The heat wave’s impact extends beyond the West. In Baltimore and parts of Maryland, heat index values could climb to 110F (43C), prompting excessive heat warnings.

Tragically, the heat has led to several deaths. In Arizona's Maricopa County, encompassing Phoenix, there have been at least 13 confirmed heat-related deaths this year.

The recent death of a 10-year-old boy hiking in Phoenix’s South Mountain Park further underscores the severe danger posed by this heat wave.

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