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Heat wave: Tens of millions endure scorching temperatures across the U.S.

Temperatures will reach levels that will “pose a health risk and be potentially deadly," the National Weather Service warned.

An “extremely dangerous heat wave” will plague the Western and Southern parts of the country over the weekend, forecasters warned early Saturday.

“Numerous record high temperatures are likely and air quality issues will be common in multiple areas of the U.S.,” the National Weather Service said in a bulletin. “Temperatures will reach levels that would pose a health risk, and be potentially deadly, to anyone without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration,” it said.

The heat is expected to continue well into next week as a high pressure dome moves west from Texas.

What to know

  • Nearly a third of Americans are under extreme heat advisories, watches and warnings.
  • All-time heat records could be reached at some locations in the Southwest, according to the National Weather Service.
  • Phoenix marked the city's 15th consecutive day of 110 degrees Fahrenheit or higher temperatures on Friday, putting it on track to beat the record of 18 days, recorded in 1974.
  • Firefighters in Southern California were battling three separate brush fires that started Friday afternoon in mostly rural areas across Riverside County, southeast of Los Angeles.

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78d ago / 9:36 PM UTC

‘Extremely dangerous’ heat wave will intensify tomorrow

The “extremely dangerous” heat wave in the Southwest will reach peak intensity Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures could approach or set all-time heat records in the region, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, Mojave Desert and Great Basin regions, the weather service said.

“Phoenix is also likely to register its hottest week on record by 7-day average temperature,” NWS officials wrote in an updated short-range forecast.

Extreme heat is forecast to persist into next week for parts of the region, and high temperatures and humidity will build across the South in the coming days.

The NWS urged people to stay hydrated and take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses.

“Take the heat seriously and avoid time outdoors,” the NWS said. “Temperatures will reach levels that pose a health risk and are potentially deadly to anyone without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration.”

78d ago / 8:46 PM UTC

Death Valley hits 119 degrees F in early afternoon

Temperatures in Death Valley hit a scorching 119 degrees F early this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, inching toward today’s forecasted high temperature of 127 F.

Excessive heat warnings are in effect at Death Valley National Park through the weekend and into next week. Death Valley is expected to reach 129 F on Sunday, which would set a new daily record at the site. Death Valley's all-time record high of 134 F, however, was set in July 10, 1913.

78d ago / 8:24 PM UTC

Why you should avoid alcohol during heat waves

Cold beer or frozen cocktails may seem like the perfect way to cope with soaring temperatures and punishing humidity, but it’s actually best to lay off the booze during heat waves, according to experts.

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that even under normal circumstances, it dehydrates the body and causes people to lose fluids. During heat waves, the risk of dehydration is even greater, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Caffeinated beverages can have similar effects, experts have said.

In other words, just because you’re drinking fluids doesn’t necessarily mean you’re staying hydrated. Experts recommend drinking plenty of water to stay cool and avoid heat-related illnesses. And if you are having beer, wine or cocktails when it's sweltering out, it's best to drink 8 to 12 ounces of water for every alcoholic drink consumed, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

78d ago / 7:49 PM UTC

New records on track as Southwest swelters

PHOENIX — A dangerous heat wave threatened a wide swath of the Southwest with potentially deadly temperatures in the triple digits on Saturday as some cooling centers extended their hours and emergency rooms prepared to treat more people with heat-related illnesses.

“Near record temperatures are expected this weekend!” the National Weather Service in Phoenix warned in a tweet, advising people to follow its heat safety tips such as drinking plenty of water and checking on family members and neighbors.

“Don’t be a statistic!” the weather service in Tucson advised, noting extreme heat can be deadly. “It CAN happen to YOU!”

About 200 hydration stations distributing bottles of water and cooling centers where thousands of people can rest in air-conditioned spaces opened Saturday in public spaces like libraries, churches and businesses around the Phoenix area.

78d ago / 7:19 PM UTC

Enter El Niño

Record-breaking temperatures and severe heat waves on multiple continents, all on the heels of the hottest June on record? El Niño is partly to blame, along with climate change.

Scientists had predicted that the return of El Niño conditions would make for a hot summer for the Northern Hemisphere. And so far, that forecast has come true.

El Niño is a naturally occurring climate pattern marked by changes in the strength or direction of trade winds that cause waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean to become warmer than usual. These events strongly influence global temperatures, rainfall patterns, hurricanes and other climate anomalies and extremes.

Across the Northern Hemisphere this summer, El Niño conditions are expected to boost temperatures in an already-warming world, making heat waves more likely to occur, and more severe when they do.

78d ago / 6:37 PM UTC

Meanwhile, across the pond ...

It's not just the U.S. that is baking under extreme heat this weekend. Southern Europe has been hit with high heat and humidity as part of a potentially record-breaking heat wave that is forecast to linger into next week.

Temperatures in Italy, Spain and Greece are expected to climb well into the triple digits, with some forecasters saying that parts of southern Italy could reach 118 F in the coming days.

Parts of China, Japan and North Africa are also experieincing high heat and humidity.

78d ago / 6:31 PM UTC

78d ago / 6:24 PM UTC

Phoenix hits 110 degrees F before noon

78d ago / 6:13 PM UTC

Extreme heat increases wildfire risk in the West

Scorching conditions in the West are elevating the risk of wildfires across the region.

In Southern California, fire crews have been fighting three separate brush fires in Riverside County. One, known as the Rabbit Fire, has burned 4,500 acres and is only 5% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Evacuation warnings remain in effect in Moreno Valley for the Reche Fire, which has burned 437 acres and is 30% contained.

Federal, state and local officials also instituted fire restrictions in southern Nevada on Friday, as heat builds across the region. Among other things, the restrictions prohibit:

  • Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire (using wood, charcoal or any other material), campfire or stove fire, except a portable stove using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel outside of a developed fee campground or picnic area except by permit.
  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or when stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
  • Operating or parking a vehicle or other motorized equipment over or on top of dried or cured vegetation.
  • Welding, metal grinding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame except by permit.
78d ago / 6:02 PM UTC

People and pets seek shade and cool as Europe sizzles under heat wave

ROME — Scorching temperatures across Europe forced the closure of the Acropolis in Athens for a second day as officials warned Saturday of even hotter weather next week, when the mercury is forecast to top 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in several popular Mediterranean tourist destinations.

In cities, those venturing out at all drenched themselves in fountains while others sought out pools, the sea or shade in hopes of relief from the heat wave caused by Cerberus. The high-pressure anticyclone coming from the south was named after the three-headed dog in ancient Greek mythology who guarded the gates to the underworld.

Fifteen cities in Italy, most of them in the country’s center and south, were under heat advisories signaling a high level of risk for older adults, the infirm, infants and other vulnerable people. Temperatures remained in the mid-30s C (mid-90s F) across much of the Italian peninsula Saturday but were expected to reach between 38 C (100.4 F) and 40 C (104 C) in Sardinia, Sicily and Puglia.

The cities under alerts included the high-tourism destinations of Bologna, Florence and Rome. The capital hit a high of 35 C (95 F) Saturday and was expected to see temperatures as high as 42 C (107.6 F) on Tuesday when other Italian cities could be even hotter.

78d ago / 5:28 PM UTC

Weather outlook: Heat now and more heat ahead

The intense heat wave in the West has been fueled by a strong ridge of high pressure that remains parked over the region, according to the National Weather Service.

Dangerously hot conditions are expected in central and Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of the interior Northwest through the weekend. Widespread daytime high temperatures will be 10 degrees to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, the weather service said.

In the desert regions of California, Nevada and Arizona, temperatures could exceed 120 F, possibly setting a host of new heat records.

High heat and humidity are forecast across the South in the coming days.

“While the core of the hottest temperatures is setting up in the Southwest, sultry conditions persist in the south central U.S. and in South Florida,” NWS officials said Saturday in a short-range forecast discussion.

Excessive heat warnings and advisories are in effect across most of the southern portion of the country, stretching from the West Coast to the Gulf Coast.

“All affected regions will struggle to cool off each night, making for little in the way of relief even well after the sun sets Saturday and Sunday evenings,” the weather services said.

78d ago / 5:25 PM UTC

Global heat records and natural disasters ‘exceeding’ climate experts predictions

78d ago / 5:00 PM UTC

Los Angeles issues excessive heat warnings


The Los Angeles County Health Office issued heat warnings for Antelope Valley, Western Antelope Valley Foothills, Eastern Antelope Valley Foothills, Northwest LA County Mountains, West San Gabriel Mountains, East San Gabriel Mountains and Santa Clarita Valley.

It also issued heat advisories for many parts of the Los Angeles area.

“While it is very important that everyone take special care of themselves, it is equally important that we reach out and check on others, in particular those who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of high temperatures, including children, the elderly, those who are sick or have chronic conditions, pregnant women, those who live alone, and pets,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County Health Officer. 

78d ago / 4:47 PM UTC

Phoenix starts the day with sky-high temperatures

The day is off to a very hot start in Phoenix. The city recorded a morning low temperature of 92 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 7 F above normal, according to the Phoenix office of the National Weather Service.

It marks the sixth consecutive day that the city's low temperatures topped 90 F.

Phoenix is expected to hit 118 F today and 117 F on Sunday. Dangerously hot conditions, well into the triple digits, are expected to persist through next week. Local officials urged people to take precautions, such as staying hydrated and avoiding strenuous activities, to avoid heat-related illnesses.

“We are forecasting record high temperatures over the next 5 days in the Phoenix Metro area,” the local office of the NWS said on Twitter Friday night. “Morning lows will also be near record warm levels. Please be safe during this heat wave!”

78d ago / 4:30 PM UTC

78d ago / 4:01 PM UTC

Los Angeles County Health Officer issues excessive heat warnings

The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued an excessive heat warning as high temperatures have been forecast for the following areas:

  • Antelope Valley: Friday, July 14, 2023, through Monday, July 17, 2023
  • Western Antelope Valley Foothills: Friday, July 14, 2023, through Monday, July 17, 2023
  • Eastern Antelope Valley Foothills: Friday, July 14, 2023, through Monday, July 17, 2023
  • Northwest LA County Mountains/Interstate 5 Corridor: Friday, July 14, 2023, through Monday, July 17, 2023
  • West San Gabriel Mountains/Hwy 14 Corridor: Friday, July 14, 2023, through Monday, July 17, 2023
  • East San Gabriel Mountains: Friday, July 14, 2023, through Monday, July 17, 2023
  • Santa Clarita Valley: Friday, July 14, 2023, through Monday, July 17, 2023
78d ago / 3:30 PM UTC

Drought conditions in South Dakota improving, thanks to recent rainfall

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Drought and dry conditions in South Dakota have improved, thanks to recent rainfall and cooler temperatures.

This week’s U.S. Drought Monitor report shows that only around 25% of South Dakota is still experiencing varying degrees of drought, with a small pocket of Charles Mix County in extreme drought. The dry conditions are concentrated in southeastern and eastern South Dakota.

Three weeks ago, around 75% of South Dakota experienced drought conditions. Now 63% of the state is experiencing normal conditions.

And South Dakota is in better shape than most other Midwestern states. Drought conditions are widespread in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri. Significant portions of those states are in extreme or exceptional drought.

78d ago / 3:00 PM UTC

Southern California firefighters battle 3 wildfires amid hot, dry weather

Firefighters in Southern California were battling three separate brush fires that started Friday afternoon amid a blistering heat wave.

The fires were all within 40 miles of each other in mostly rural areas across Riverside County, southeast of Los Angeles.

Nearly 1,000 homes were under evacuation orders, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or property loss, according to officials from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

Two of the fires had stopped spreading by the evening. The third, though, grew at a “rapid rate” to more than 2 square miles (5 square kilometers) in a matter of hours, Cal Fire said in a social media post.

Hundreds of firefighters were dispatched.

California is bracing for its hottest weather of the year so far this weekend, and Riverside County is among areas under an excessive heat warning.

78d ago / 2:30 PM UTC

Washington activates heat emergency

Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, D.C., said on Twitter that the district was under a heat emergency starting at 10 a.m. She encouraged people to limit sun exposure and check on seniors.

78d ago / 2:00 PM UTC

National Weather Service forecasts temperatures that break 45 records

The National Weather service said Friday that forecasts show 45 record heat temperatures falling over the weekend.

78d ago / 1:35 PM UTC

Chances of rain slim in Arizona

June through September is Arizona's monsoon season, but authorities said Friday there would be little chance of thunderstorms next week to provide respite from the extremely hot temperatures.

The five-day outlook for Phoenix puts temperatures between 116-118 degrees Fahrenheit daily, the National Weather Service Phoenix said on Twitter, with temperatures breaking or matching previous record highs.

Rain and clouds would break the heat wave and provide respite, but the chance of rain across the lower deserts for next week is about 20%, the service said in a separate tweet. Current temperatures make this month the hottest July on record, it said, although if an active storm pattern develops later in the month it could cool temperatures significantly.

At 18 days so far, this summer marks longest consecutive period of temperatures exceeding 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The previous record was set in 2022, which saw temperatures hit 110 degrees and higher for 17 days.

79d ago / 1:00 PM UTC

Heat, flooding and smoke: The U.S. is in the midst of a summer of extremes

The word of the summer is “extreme.” 

Extreme flooding. Extreme heat. Extreme smoke.

Scientists have predicted a climate of extremes in report after report as Earth warms because humans continue to belch fossil fuel pollution into the atmosphere. 

And now, it’s here — with a dizzying slew of broken records and heartbreaking scenes. 

The images — a smoky Central Park in sepia, kayaks floating on the streets of Montpelier, Vermont, and packed cooling centers in Arizona — still provide a shock, even for those expecting them. 

“All of this is entirely consistent with what greenhouse gas warming does and is in line with the trends we expect,” Ben Zaitchik, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, said of the extreme events. “Still there’s something that feels surprising — emotionally surprising — when you see these happening with increasing frequency and severity.”  

Read the full story here.

79d ago / 12:40 PM UTC

Northeast under flood watch, storms forecast for southern High Plains

Heat isn't the only weather extreme facing parts of the U.S.

Much of the Northeast can expect heavy rainfall on Saturday into Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. The southern High Plains and the eastern Ohio and Tennessee Valleys are also facing severe storms.

79d ago / 12:15 PM UTC

Northern Mexico also on alert for extreme heat


Extreme temperatures were not confined to the U.S. this week, as the city of Mexicali on Mexico's northern border also faced sweltering conditions.

Temperatures in the city of over 1 million people had soared to 122 degrees Fahrenheit by Thursday and was set to remain at over 115 Fahrenheit throughout the weekend.

Local government, along with religious groups, offered homeless people shelter, water and rehydration salt packets to help them avoid heat stroke, and opened public spaces providing cots and fans.

79d ago / 11:55 AM UTC
79d ago / 11:15 AM UTC

Albuquerque begins 'Operation Cooldown'

Vulnerable older people, children and the unhoused population have been targeted by Operation Cooldown, officials in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said Friday.

The city announced discounts on pool entry fees, extended splash-pad hours into the evening and introduced a new schedule for park sprinkler play sessions. The city also opened public spaces to provide air conditioning, sunscreen, meals and hydration facilities.

“Operation Cooldown is about keeping the health and well-being of our City’s families at the forefront,” Mayor Tim Keller said in a statement. 

79d ago / 10:30 AM UTC

California State Fair suspends horse racing, changes livestock show schedule

Livestock shows and competitions at the California State Fair in Sacramento have been suspended or adjusted to protect animal welfare as extreme heat swept the state.

The majority of shows were moved to the morning hours to protect against extreme heat, the fair’s organizers said on Twitter Friday. Horse racing events were also suspended over the fair’s opening weekend.

The fair showcases an array of farm animals from across the state, including beef and dairy cattle, pygmy and angora goats, and alpaca and llamas.

Winning animals fetch handsome prizes for farmers and breeders at the ceremonial “sale of champions” events.

79d ago / 9:45 AM UTC

Forecasters warn of ‘dangerous mindset’ over desert heat

79d ago / 9:00 AM UTC

Extreme heat is 'leading weather-related killer'

Extreme heat “is the leading weather-related killer in the U.S.,” the National Weather Service said Saturday, adding that excessive heat warnings and advisories were put in place in more than 10 states in the South and West.

“It is particularly dangerous to those without access to water and shade,” the service said in a bulletin.

California, Nevada, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, most of Texas, southern New Mexico and eastern Oklahoma were placed under the heat warnings, with a heat wave likely to peak in intensity on Sunday for much of the region, according to the National Weather Service.

The service warned that dangerous heat would likely continue into next week, with all-time heat records likely to be smashed across locations in the Southwest. Phoenix is likely to register its hottest week on record in seven-day average temperatures, it said. 

79d ago / 8:14 AM UTC

Photo: Helicopter drops water on a California's 'Rabbit Fire'

DAVID SWANSON / AFP - Getty Images
79d ago / 8:14 AM UTC

Longest-ever stretch of high temperatures forecast for Austin, Texas

79d ago / 8:14 AM UTC

Southern California firefighters battle 3 wildfires 

Firefighters in Southern California were battling three separate brush fires that started Friday afternoon amid a blistering heat wave.

The fires were all within 40 miles of each other in mostly rural areas across Riverside County, southeast of Los Angeles.

Nearly 1,000 homes were under evacuation orders, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or property loss, according to officials from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

Two of the fires had stopped spreading by the evening. The third, though, grew at a “rapid rate” to more than 2 square miles in a matter of hours, Cal Fire said in a social media post.

Hundreds of firefighters were dispatched.