July 14, 2023

Heat map of USA

SouthWest USA Bakes Under Heat Dome

What if every home had a solar powered fan?A massive dome  over the western and southern United States has left Americans sweltering in soaring temperatures, poised to approach all-time records in Phoenix, Las Vegas and California’s Central Valley and surpass 130 degrees in Death Valley, Calif., the heat capital of the world.  Excessive-heat watches cover 15 states from  New Mexico, to Arizona and California, and Texas.

In many areas, it is the length of the heat wave, more than its intensity which is making people struggle. Some have seen no relief from dangerous temperatures for over a month, and the heat wave shows no signs of abating soon.

In the West, it’s a blistering, dry heat that presents a growing risk for dehydration.

“Dangerous heat will result in a major to extreme risk for heat-related illnesses for much of the population, especially those who are heat sensitive and those without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration,” wrote the National Weather Service in Hanford, Calif. Excessive-heat warnings are in effect for much of California’s highly populated Central Valley, where highs could reach 117 degrees.

Death Valley could challenge the highest temperature ever reliably measured on the planet. The heat-prone site may make it above 130 degrees over the weekend, surpassing the record mark previously set at the same location in July 2021 and August 2020. Nighttime low temperatures in Death Valley are forecast to exceed 100 degrees.

Forecast highs on Sunday in the Southwest United States from the National Weather Service. (Ian Livingston)

Across the southern Plains, Deep South and Southeast, tropical moisture will overlap with hot weather to make heat exhaustion and heat stroke a dangerous threat. Heat indexes could climb into the 110-to-120-degree range. Marathon Key, Fla., just netted its hottest five-day period on record, with an average afternoon high of 97.2 degrees. Wednesday featured a heat index of 118 degrees. Unprecedented water temperatures between 94 and 98 degrees are also threatening sensitive corals and marine life.

Floods, fires and deadly heat are the alarm bells of a planet on the brink

The heat is not confined to the Lower 48 states. Southern Europe is also in the early stages of a dangerous heat wave. Excessively high temperatures are forecast from Portugal and Spain through southern Italy and as far east as Romania and Bulgaria on Thursday and Friday.

In Sicily and Sardinia, temperatures could approach 118 degrees (48 Celsius), challenging the highest levels ever observed in Europe, according to the European Space Agency. The heat will expand into Central Europe, including Germany and Poland, over the weekend and may linger over southern Europe for much of next week.
A punishing dry heat in the Southwest U.S.

It’s not just Death Valley facing all-time records. Sunday is expected to bring a high of 117 degrees to Las Vegas, which would tie the city’s hottest temperature ever recorded. There’s a chance that Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

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