Extreme heat wave in southern, western states brings warnings, triple-digit temperatures

Cities in southern and western states have issued warnings and opened cooling centers ahead of a potentially dangerous heat wave expected Wednesday, with temperatures expected to top 110 degrees Fahrenheit in places.

At least 29 million people will be subject to heat alerts and warnings starting Wednesday through the weekend, in a region stretching from central California to Nevada and Arizona, as well as a part of southern Texas.

An area of ​​high pressure brings unusually high temperatures with daytime highs 10 to 25 degrees above average in affected areas.

Several locations could see record temperatures Friday, NBC meteorologist Angie Lassmann said in her forecast early Wednesday.

San Angelo, in central Texas, hit 111 degrees Tuesday — the city’s third hottest day after reaching 112 degrees last year.

The National Weather Service said California’s Central Valley could see temperatures “up to 100 degrees in the hottest locations,” while heat of around 110 degrees will be common in inland desert regions, including Las Vegas, by Thursday.

A man walks across a gentleman along the Las Vegas Strip during a heat wave in Las Vegas on Tuesday.John Locher/AP

In Death Valley National Park in California, temperatures could reach between 118 and 121 degrees.

California has moved to Phase 2 of its Extreme Temperature Response Plan, which puts state agencies on an active footing to respond to heat-related illnesses and prepare cooling centers.

“Extreme heat can be deadly. Together, let’s do everything we can to stay safe. The state is taking steps to protect and inform communities and Californians should take steps now to protect themselves from the heat,” the governor said. Gavin Newsom said in a statement

Phoenix could reach 110 degrees for the first time this year on Wednesday – the average date for the city to get this hot is June 11.

And Phoenix is ​​expected to get even hotter, reaching 113 degrees on Thursday, which would be its hottest day since records began 129 years ago. Heat records also risk being rewritten in other cities.

San Antonio, Texas, has opened 30 cooling centers for those who need air conditioning, while centers are also operating in Corpus Christi, Texas; San Jose, California, and Clark County in southern Nevada.

Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States, issued a heat warning for the Antelope Valley desert area from Wednesday to Friday, urging people to drink plenty of fluids and stay sheltered sunlight if possible.

City leaders and first responders have struggled to find methods – and resources – to combat the effects of extreme heat.

Last year in Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes Phoenix, there were 645 heat-related deaths. This was due to a grueling 31-day period in which temperatures consecutively reached 110 degrees.

Today, firefighters use ice immersion techniques developed by the U.S. military to cool heatstroke victims and hopefully save lives. The plan is to place patients in a blue bag filled with ice while being transported to the emergency room.

Phoenix Fire Captain. John Prato presents a new protocol for patients suffering from heatstroke on Monday.Anita Neige/AP

“Last week we had a critical patient that we were able to bring back before we walked through the emergency room doors,” the fire captain said. » John Prato told the Associated Press. “That’s our goal: to improve patient survival.”

It comes as new projections show the average cost of cooling a home from June to September is 8% higher than last year.

Authorities are also on high alert for fires in the region, with restrictions on fire use in place in central and western Arizona. A grass fire near the Central Valley community of Tracy, California, about 65 miles east of San Francisco, grew to more than 14,000 acres over the weekend.

The U.S. Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas, said Monday that four migrants trying to enter the country illegally died of heatstroke and dehydration over the weekend.

“We urge anyone considering crossing illegally to understand the serious risks involved. Our officers are working tirelessly to save lives. But the best way to stay safe is to not attempt to cross illegally,” said Anthony S. Good , El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent. in a report.

The hot weather will be accompanied by some showers and thunderstorms with heavy rain. The system is progressing off the coast of Texas and into southern Louisiana, triggering flood warnings throughout the evening.

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