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As record-breaking heat blankets the West, no end in sight

Written by on July 9, 2024

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(NEW YORK) — The ongoing scorching heat in the West caused a road to buckle in Washington this week while at least a dozen California cities broke all-time high-temperature records.

A heat wave enveloping much of the nation has been especially sweltering on the West Coast, where some areas have experienced multiple days of triple-digit weather that has turned deadly.

More than 70 million people are under heat alerts in the West as a scorching heat wave continues.

In Oregon, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office reported Monday that it is investigating at least four suspected heat-related deaths since the state of emergency was declared on July 5 amid dangerously hot temperatures.

Those who perished in the soaring heat included an 87-year-old man, a 75-year-old man and a 64-year-old man, all living in the Portland area, the medical examiner’s office said. A 33-year-old man was taken to a Portland hospital from outside Multnomah County, and also died from a suspected heat-related illness.

The temperature hit 101 degrees in Portland on Monday and 104 degrees in Eugene and Salem, Oregon, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). All three cities set new daily high-temperature records, the weather service said.

Portland is forecast to see its fourth straight day of triple-digit weather on Tuesday, where thermometers are expected to climb to 105 degrees, according to the NWS.

Road buckles in Washington

In Washington, extreme temperatures caused State Route 111 in Skagit County to buckle on Monday, creating potentially dangerous conditions for drivers, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

“Our crews were dispatched and found that the concrete panels under the asphalt had buckled due to the heat,” Madison Sehlke, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation, told ABC affiliate station KOMO in Seattle.

Washington saw temperatures on Monday climb to the high 90s in some areas. In Olympia, the temperature hit 99 degrees on Monday, breaking a daily record set in 2010, according to the National Weather Service. Seattle also broke a daily temperature record on Monday when the temperature reached 91 degrees, according to the NWS.

Excessive heat warnings in most of California

The entire state of California was either under an excessive heat warning or a heat advisory on Tuesday.

Palm Springs, which set an all-time heat record on Sunday when the temperature peaked at 124 degrees, was forecast to reach 121 degrees on Tuesday, according to the NWS.

A long-duration heat wave is expected to continue through this week in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley.

Fresno is forecast on Tuesday to see its seventh straight day of temperatures hitting 105 degrees or higher, Andy Bollenbacher of the NWS office in Hanford, California, told ABC News.

Bollenbacher said the record for consecutive days of 105 degrees or higher in Fresno is 14. He said the extended forecast shows a temperature in Fresno of 105 degrees or higher lasting through at least Sunday.

The temperature on Tuesday in Fresno is forecast to hit 109 degrees, Bollenbacher said.

Death Valley, California, remains the hottest spot in the nation. At 11 a.m. local time on Tuesday, the temperature in Death Valley was 112 degrees and forecast to reach 128, according to the NWS.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Death Valley was 134 degrees set in 1913, which is also the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth, according to the NWS.

At least 12 cities in California have seen all-time heat records broken since Saturday, including Redding in Northern California which hit 119 degrees on Monday and Dagget in Southern California which reached 118 on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Dangerous heat to drag on in Arizona

Oppressive heat is forecast to continue through the remainder of the week in Arizona, where an excessive heat warning was extended for the Phoenix metro area.

In Phoenix, the temperature is expected to peak at 117 degrees on Tuesday and remain above 109 degrees through at least Monday, according to the NWS. Lake Havasu City is forecast to hit 120 degrees on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before cooling down to 117 on Friday and 110 on Sunday, according to the NWS.

A 50-year-old man hiking in the Grand Canyon died after being found unresponsive over the weekend, marking the third death in the national park within the last three weeks.

A man was unresponsive when he was found on the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon about 100 feet from the trailhead on Sunday, according to the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center.

NPS said temperatures on exposed parts of the trail can reach over 120 degrees in the shade.

Las Vegas expected to break consecutive hot-day record

Just days after recording its hottest day ever, Las Vegas is aiming to break another record: consecutive days of 110 degrees or higher.

The NWS is forecasting high temperatures of 114 to 118 degrees for the rest of this week, putting Las Vegas in a position to break the current record of five straight days of 110 degrees or higher.

Las Vegas has a 90% chance of breaking its all-time record for consecutive days of 110 degrees or above, meteorologist Matt Woods of the NWS office in Las Vegas told ABC News.

Tuesday’s temperature in Las Vegas is forecast to reach 117, making it the seventh straight day it surpassed the 110-degree mark, Woods said.

Las Vegas’ record of 10 consecutive days of 110-degree weather was set in 1961 and tied in July 2023.

“Tomorrow through Saturday we have a 90% chance of reaching a 110,” Woods said. “So it’s very likely we’re going to shatter the record.”

On Sunday, Las Vegas reached 120 degrees, breaking the record for the city’s hottest day ever.

Hot weather in other parts of the nation

By this weekend, the record heat will move into the Rockies, where cities like Denver, Colorado, and Rapid City, South Dakota, could see record highs.

Numerous cities along the East Coast are forecast to hit the century mark or get close.

In Washington, D.C., the temperature hit 98 degrees on Tuesday afternoon and is forecast to reach 96 degrees on Wednesday. Philadelphia hit 94 degrees on Tuesday afternoon. Further south, the temperature Tuesday afternoon in Richmond, Virginia, climbed to 95 degrees and it was 94 in Charlotte, North Carolina, according to the NWS.

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