California’s Death Valley, the hottest place on Earth, could set a new world record for high temperatures this weekend as a scorching heat wave scorches much of the US.
The National Weather Service at one point this week forecast a high of 131F on Sunday at a station near the national park’s Furnace Creek visitor center, which would mark a world record.
“There is a decent chance that Death Valley will experience a high temperature this weekend between 130 and 132F, which (if it occurs) would tie or break the record for the highest reliably measured temperature on Earth,” the scientist tweeted. Climate Daniel Swain.
Death Valley’s record 134F in 1913 has been disputed for decades by experts who believe the measurement was due to a sandstorm that caused superheated particles to hit the thermometer.
“The old Death Valley record from July 1913 is 100% false,” said weather record expert Christopher Burt. climate connections in July 2021, when Death Valley set the modern world record of 130F even.
A visitor poses for a photo with the thermometer at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center on Sunday. The area could set a new world record for heat next weekend
A scorching heat wave that has been roasting the nation is drawing ever closer to California
Burt was a member of the World Meteorological Organization team that overturned the previous world record of 136.4 F, recorded in Libya in 1923.
As of Thursday night, the NWS was forecasting a high of 130F in Death Valley on Sunday, which would tie the modern record.
Whether or not a new record is hit this weekend, Death Valley is going to be deadly and otherworldly hot, with overnight lows that could exceed 100F.
“Several days of extreme heat will result in great concern for life-threatening heat illness for anyone outside for an extended period,” the NWS warned in a lightning bulletin.
Nationwide, more than a third of Americans were under extreme heat watches, watches and warnings Thursday as a scorching heat wave that has been roasting the nation crept further into California.
Sweeping conditions were expected to increase Friday and over the weekend in central and southern California, where many residents should brace for the hottest weather of the year, the National Weather Service warned.
Highs in inland desert areas could top 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and stay in the 80s overnight, offering little relief.
A sign warns people of extreme heat in multiple languages Tuesday in Death Valley National Park. July is the hottest month in the park with an average high of 116 degrees.
Hikers return to their vehicles at Golden Canyon on Tuesday in Death Valley
The sweltering temperatures have been especially dangerous for farmworkers and the homeless who may not have access to air-conditioned shelter.
In some cities, officials prepared to repurpose public libraries, senior centers and police department lobbies as cooling centers, especially in desert areas.
The heat wave struck as the California State Fair was preparing to kick off in Sacramento on Friday, forcing organizers to cancel planned horse races due to animal safety concerns.
Forecasters said the long-lasting heat wave is extremely dangerous, especially for the elderly, homeless residents and other vulnerable populations. The heat could persist into next week as a high pressure dome moves west from Texas.
In Las Vegas, regional health officials launched a new database Thursday to report “heat-caused” and “heat-related” deaths in the city and surrounding Clark County from April through October.
The Southern Nevada Health District said seven people have died since April 11, and a total of 152 deaths last year were determined to be heat-related.
The tally includes deaths from heat exposure or hyperthermia and cases with those reasons listed as “significant factors,” district spokeswoman Jennifer Sizemore said.
People walk through refreshing misters along the Las Vegas Strip on Thursday. Even desert residents used to scorching summers are feeling the pinch of an extreme heat wave hitting the Southwest this week.
Phoenix hit 110 degrees for the 14th straight day on Thursday, putting it on track for a possible new high next week. The longest measured stretch of temperatures over 110 degrees for the city is 18 days, recorded in 1974.
The overnight low temperature at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Thursday morning was 95 degrees, meaning temperatures may not drop enough to allow people to recover after dark.
While there are about 200 hydration and cooling centers operating in libraries, community centers, churches and other public spaces in the greater Phoenix area, most close between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., leaving people with few options to cool off on still sweltering nights.
David Hondula, heat director for the city of Phoenix, said some centers plan to close later this weekend, including one downtown near a large homeless encampment that will stay open 24 hours.