Millions remain under heat alert as Phoenix and Las Vegas break temperature records

Millions of people in southwestern states are under extreme heat warnings on Friday, after two major US cities recorded their hottest daily temperatures on record as the potentially dangerous heat wave continues.

Phoenix reached a sweltering 113 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday – breaking the previous daily record for this time of year of 111 degrees set in 2016 – while Las Vegas set a new record of 111 degrees for June 6, confirmed the National Weather Service.

Some 86 million people in the continental United States will face heat of 90 degrees or higher on Friday, while in the southwestern states at least 14 million can expect temperatures of 100 degrees or more.

Heat in Phoenix sickened at least 11 people Thursday and required medical treatment at a rally honoring former President Donald Trump in Phoenix, the city’s fire department said. Some had waited outside, in the stifling heat, for the event to begin.

In Death Valley, California, thermometers reached 122 degrees, breaking the record of 121 set in 1996. The hottest temperature ever recorded in the United States was 134 degrees, in Death Valley in 1913 – although some climate scientists have questioned this statistic.

It is warmer at all times of the day and also earlier in the year. At Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport on Thursday, the lowest temperature recorded was 85 degrees, 9 degrees above the minimum normal for early June, the NWS said.

Many mountain trails are regularly closed when temperatures approach triple digits. As the Phoenix Fire Department said on Facebook, “It’s not hike day.”

Phoenix Fire Capt. Todd Keller told NBC News Thursday that every fire truck is now equipped with an “immersion” ice pack in which to place sunstroke patients in order to aggressively lower their body temperature. According to Keller, the goal is to save lives.

“The survivability that we see explodes when we can cool these patients before we arrive at the hospital,” Keller said.

Most of the 645 extreme heat deaths in metro Phoenix last year, he said, were among the city’s vagrant population. “If they fall asleep or if they sleep on the concrete, they risk third-degree burns,” he said.

The physical and financial impact of the heat is enormous on the local community, but also on their pets. Camille Rabbani of Phoenix keeps her thermostat at a sweltering 83 degrees to avoid incurring high electric bills. Further up, his dog, Riggs, can no longer escape.

“We were trying 86 and it was huffing and puffing and I was like, ‘This isn’t good.’ And then we kind of got to, like 83 was manageable,” she said.

Los Angeles County has issued a heat advisory for the Antelope Valley and East Antelope Valley desert areas for Friday.

The weekend will bring extreme heat across the Deep South from New Orleans to Florida, where forecasters said records could be broken along the state’s eastern coast from Sanford to West Palm Beach.

On Sunday, in the South, the heat index – a measure of the heat felt – could reach triple digits. People are advised to call 911 immediately if they witness heat stroke symptoms such as vomiting and dizziness.

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