The National Weather Service forecast predicts a maximum of 126 in Death Valley, California. Phoenix, Arizona, expects a peak of 117 on Sunday, and Las Vegas, Nevada is gearing up for the weekend highs of 113.
In the southwest, “we use what we call a heat hazard,” said Marvin Percha, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. This is different from other areas of the country where heat rates are more important in heat warnings.
“We look at how rare the event is and compare what is normal,” said Percha. “Given the temperatures we have forecast now, we are facing a rather rare event.”
The heat in Phoenix this weekend could break daily records. Phoenix’s expected high of 117 on Sunday would break the daily record of July 12, 115, set in 2009. The heat in California and Nevada will be close to, but not quite reaching, the records.
High heat is seasonally appropriate for the region, but is generally not as high for that long.
Such high temperatures can be amplified in valleys and on the ground, where materials can begin to melt.
High temperatures can be dangerous and people in affected areas are urged to take safety precautions. “Anyone with diabetic or heart problems should be especially careful about this and really do everything they can to prevent it,” Percha said.
“If you have to be outside, try to limit your exposure and stay well hydrated,” Percha said. “Find air-conditioned cooling centers if necessary.”