The Slatest

Western U.S. Faces Another Scorching Heat Wave That Could Break Lots of Records

Southern California residents cool off in the Whitewater River on July 10, 2021 in Whitewater, California.
Southern California residents cool off in the Whitewater River on July 10, 2021 in Whitewater, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

More than 30 million people across western states are sweating a lot this weekend as temperatures soar well into the triple digits in yet another heat wave that is likely to break records. This new heat wave comes shortly after the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia suffered through a “heat dome” that also broke records. The scorching temperatures this weekend are also largely due to a “heat dome,” only this time it is over the Four Corners region of the western United States. Nearly all of California and Nevada will feel this latest heat wave and cities including Las Vegas and Sacramento are likely to experience all-time record high temperatures.

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Even before Saturday, records were broken. Grand Junction, Colo., for example, reached 107 degrees, an all-time high. In Death Valley, Calif., a temperature of 130 degrees was registered, which was the highest temperature recorded anywhere on earth since July 7, 1931, when it was 131 degrees in Kebili, Tunisia. Some experts are skeptical of that historical record, “meaning Friday’s high in Death Valley may have tied the record for Earth’s hottest reliably measured temperature,” reports the Washington Post. It could get even hotter on Saturday as temperatures could reach a high of around 132. Las Vegas could also break its all-time record of 117 degrees this weekend. The town of St. George could also break Utah’s current record of 117 degrees while Sacramento could also break its record of 114 degrees. “Some locations may tie or break their high temperature record for the day,” the National Weather Service Sacramento tweeted early Saturday.

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The high temperatures are also helping wildfires spread and expand. In Northern California, firefighters struggled to control the merging of two fires that were sparked by lighting. The fire has prompted evacuations in areas where the air was so dry that some of the water dropped by aircraft evaporates before ever hitting the ground.

The hot temperatures come after the United States experienced its hottest June on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report Friday detailing how last month was the hottest June in 127 years, surpassing a previous record that had been set in 2016.

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