Death Valley may approach 130F as heat intensifies over Southwest

 Thursday, July 13, 2023

Temperatures in the scorching hot Southwest are expected to climb higher in the coming days. Locations including Phoenix and Las Vegas could each flirt with all-time record highs.

The already scorching hot Southwest is expected to get hotter later this week, as meteorologists say.

The dangerously hot weather will raise the risk of wildfires and potentially challenge all-time record highs in some cities.

A number of locations over the Southwest will challenge daily record highs this weekend, meteorologist Haley Taylor said.

Due to the long-duration heat wave, excessive heat warnings were in effect across the Desert Southwest, including in cities such as Phoenix, Las Vegas and Palm Springs, California.

A strong area of high pressure, known as a heat dome, and a shift in the position of the jet stream are two key factors that have led to the brutal heat.

From late this week to early next week that northward bulge of the jet stream will be as extreme as it can be over the interior Southwest.

Since this region is typically the hottest zone in the United States during the summer, it can get dangerously hot in the coming days.

The extreme heat and blazing sunshine can cause most individuals to become rapidly dehydrated, experts warn.

People are urged to avoid strenuous activity during the daylight hours, to increase their intake of fluids and seek an air-conditioned environment when possible to avoid the potential of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

On Friday, projected high temperatures will come within a few degrees of daily records for July 14 in many cities in Arizona, southern Nevada and interior Southern California.

Renowned meteorologists expect Fresno to have highs of 105 or greater each day from Friday through the middle of next week, which is the local threshold for what defines a heat wave.

With the magnitude of the extreme temperatures in the forecast, the heat wave will be close to some of the worst in recent years, based on a report.

In downtown Los Angeles, temperatures are forecast to peak near 90 F this weekend and could extend into next week as well. In the City of Angels, a heat wave is three or more days in a row with high temperatures of 90 or greater.

Some 250 miles to the northeast of Los Angeles, at one of the hottest places on Earth, temperatures are forecast to climb into the upper 120s and could hit 130 degrees in Death Valley, California.

The world record air temperature of 134 F was set in Death Valley on July 10, 1913, at the Furnace Creek observation site. The valley floor sits nearly 300 feet below sea level.

Meanwhile, Phoenix, which is aptly known as the Valley of the Sun, has been experiencing a lengthy stretch of days with high temperatures of at least 110 degrees. As of Tuesday, July 11, Phoenix has experienced 14 days in a row with high temperatures ranging from 110 to 116.

The city is currently experiencing its third longest streak of days with temperatures at or above 110 F on record.

As the heat builds into this weekend and persists into early next week, there is the potential for Phoenix to reach the 120-degree mark.

Temperatures have only reached or exceeded this threshold three times there since record-keeping began in 1896. The three 120-degree readings all occurred in the 1990s. The city’s all-time high of 122 was recorded on June 26, 1990.

Las Vegas is another desert metro area that has an excellent chance of approaching its all-time record high. That 117-degree mark has been reached five times, most recently on July 10, 2021.

Temperatures are projected to come within a couple of degrees of that mark from Saturday to Monday with daily records being challenged or broken each day.

Several hundred miles to the northeast of Las Vegas, Salt Lake City will have highs within a couple of degrees of 100 each day through Wednesday of next week.

As of Tuesday, Utah’s capital has hit 100 two times in July compared to a historical average high in the low to mid-90s.

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