As citizens continue to broil in record heat, a slew of heat advisories have been issued across the Southwest. Over the weekend, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Death Valley, California, in particular, have the potential to set new records.
According to the National Weather Service, the temperature in Death Valley reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday, shattering the previous day record high of 129 set on July 9, 1913.
On Saturday, the temperature in Las Vegas reached 117 degrees Fahrenheit, tying the city’s all-time high. The city reached 117 for the first time in July 1942. The temperature has only reached 117 four times in the nearly 80 years since that first record, including Saturday.
Friday’s total of 116 set a new record for the city of Las Vegas.
A sensor must be 6 feet off the ground, away from buildings, trees, or other obstructions, out of direct sunlight, and not impacted by precipitation, according to the National Weather Service.
Flights at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas were delayed on Friday owing to high temperatures. Flight Aware reports that 364 planes at the airport were delayed.
Due to supply constraints caused by weather conditions, NV Energy has advised customers to conserve energy until Sunday. Customers were urged to turn off lights, avoid using major appliances and gadgets, disconnect electronics when not in use, and turn off pool pumps.
“Another heat dome has settled in across the western United States and will persist into the early week,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tyler Roys said.
The setup is similar to what led to the extreme heat across the Pacific Northwest and western Canada at the end of June, when the region battled a round of its own record-breaking temperatures and devastating wildfires.
“This time, the core of the high pressure and heat will be anchored farther to the south and has allowed excessive heat to build up across the region,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty.
An excessive heat warning went into effect last Wednesday across several locations at the start of extreme heat, including the Mojave Desert, Owens Valley and Death Valley, and it will continue until 8 p.m. PDT Monday, according to the NWS.
“The hottest conditions look to through Sunday as the area of high pressure peaks in strength,” said Douty. During this time, not only will daily high temperature records be broken, but all-time records may be in jeopardy as well.
While Death Valley fell just short of the 130 mark on Saturday, AccuWeather forecasters expect temperatures to approach that barrier on Sunday. A temperature of 130 or above in Death Valley on Sunday would break the daily record for July 11 of 129.
The July 10 record established in Death Valley in 1913 is 134 degrees Fahrenheit, which also serves as the all-time global record for the hottest temperature ever measured on Earth.
On Sunday, Las Vegas is projected to break its July 11 record high of 117. If the city accomplishes this, it will tie the all-time high on two consecutive days.
There will be no reprieve at night, too, as temperatures in Death Valley will refuse to drop below 100 degrees Fahrenheit even without the aid of the afternoon sun. At night, temperatures in Las Vegas will continue more than 10 degrees above the usual low 80s. On Saturday night, Las Vegas may reach its all-time high nighttime temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
The heat dome will generally focus in on interior California, propelling temperatures past 110 in the Central Valley.
“Places like Fresno and Bakersfield, California, will be near 115 this weekend,” added Roys. This can bring them near or even past record level.
Experts urge residents to limit their time outside, stay hydrated and wear light-colored clothing to decrease the potential for heat-related illnesses. Heat is the most deadly weather impact annually in the United States. Extreme heat has contributed to an average of 138 fatalities every year over the past 30 years.
“Don’t gamble with the dangerous conditions,” said NWS of Las Vegas, stating that young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles. Residents are recommended to remain out of the sun, in an air-conditioned room and to check up on relatives and neighbors.
Cooling stations will be open through Monday in Clark County, Nev., according to the city of Las Vegas, which cautioned residents about the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
As air conditioners kick into overdrive, rolling blackouts are likely in California to curb electricity usage, according to Roys.
“As the upcoming week gets underway, hot conditions will begin to back off,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex DaSilva.
The heat dome will continue to produce very high temperatures across the West this coming week, but not at all-time levels.
However, the wildfire threat will continue to increase in many areas that do not receive any monsoon moisture.
“This is the third prolonged, extreme and dangerous heat wave for the western U.S. in the last two months,” said AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter. Death Valley nearing the all-time world maximum temperature record of 134 F is a strong and clear message about the unusual and extreme nature of this heat wave.
According to Porter, these high heat waves have triggered a hazardous cycle in which hot weather worsens the long-term drought and then drought conditions allow heat waves to be even more catastrophic.
According to the United States Drought Monitor, the whole state of California and Nevada are under moderate dryness, with over 30 percent of California and 40 percent of Nevada experiencing extreme drought.
So far in July, Las Vegas has barely received a trace of rain, compared to its usual 0.07 of an inch at this time of year. Since April, there has been no precipitation in Death Valley. Drought conditions this severe can raise the risk of wildfires across the region.