Heat Dome’s triple-digit temperatures fry the U.S. Southwest

Californians face scorching heat dome temperatures

Firefighters are prepared to plunge heatstroke victims into ice and some popular hiking trails have been closed in Arizona as tens of millions of people in the U.S. southwest endure record temperatures in three digits.

Two weeks before summer even officially began, excessive heat warnings were in effect in parts of California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas. Forecasters don’t see any relief for several days.

Temperatures on Wednesday are expected to reach 109F (42.7C) in Phoenix, 107F in Las Vegas, 110F in Palm Springs and 119F in Death Valley, California.

Late in the day, the National Weather Service (NWS) says Americans in the region could experience “easily their warmest weather” since last September, according to the Associated Press.

The mercury is soaring because of a heat dome, a zone of high pressure where hot air is pushed down and trapped, causing temperatures to soar over large areas.

Temperatures will be 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above average for this time of year, according to the NWS.

Heat dome brings scorching temperatures to parts of the United States

In Arizona, the hottest big city in the United States, firefighters placed at least one heatstroke victim in human-sized immersion bags filled with ice cubes to lower the patient’s body temperature during the journey towards the hospital.

All Phoenix Fire Department vehicles are equipped with these bags.

There were 645 heat-related deaths last year in Maricopa County, where Phoenix is ​​located.

The city is also opening two overnight cooling stations for the first time this week.

The NWS predicts temperatures could reach 111F at the Grand Canyon and advises hikers to use extra caution when outside for a prolonged period at low elevations.

Excessive heat also led Arizona officials to close popular trails at Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak.

Forecasters predict temperatures in Las Vegas could reach 112F on Thursday.

Statewide, temperatures are expected to range from 102F to 115F.

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu via Getty Images People enjoy Baker Beach in San Francisco during high temperaturesTayfun Coskun/Anadolu via Getty Images

Beachgoers enjoy Baker Beach in San Francisco during excessive heat warnings on June 4.

Triple-digit heat poses a particular danger to unhoused people, advocates said, leading to a growing demand for temperature-controlled shelters.

Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) has the capacity to house 600 homeless people when temperatures reach these levels, its chief executive officer, Phillip Scharf, told BBC News on Wednesday.

And that need is noticeable right now, he said.

“We are seeing an increase in people seeking services and a change in behavior because it is extremely hot outside,” Mr Scarf said.

Not only are people looking for a place to sleep, but they’re also looking for a place to stay during the day as the heat reaches record temperatures, he said.

CASS, the largest shelter in the state of Arizona, provides Phoenix area residents with shelter, water, food and more.

It’s a much-needed service because unhoused and low-income residents make up the largest population of heat-related deaths in Maricopa County – where Phoenix is ​​located.

In Texas, San Angelo reached 111F on Tuesday, the fifth hottest temperature ever recorded in that city, according to the local NWS office.

Heat warnings were expected to last until late Friday.

Extreme temperatures are expected to spread northward by the weekend, into the Pacific Northwest.

A graph showing how a heating dome works

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