Record-Breaking Heatwave Scorches US Southwest, Arizona Projected to See Historic High Temperatures

Record Heatwave Sweeping Across Southwest US

An unprecedented heatwave has taken hold of the southwestern United States, with Arizona facing the prospect of breaking a record for the longest stretch of extreme hot weather ever recorded. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued heat warnings for over 115 million people in the region.

Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, has endured 14 consecutive days of temperatures exceeding 43 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit) and is predicted to surpass its 18-day record of such extreme heat next Tuesday. Other cities in the area are also expected to surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). The NWS has warned that the heatwave will affect states such as Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, and California. Some parts of the Southern Plains could experience “oppressive heat” reaching up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). Even overnight temperatures are projected to remain “abnormally warm,” offering little respite from the scorching weather.

In response to the dangerous conditions, officials are urging people to exercise caution and limit their time outdoors during the hottest hours of the day. Staying hydrated is crucial, and leaving pets or children in locked vehicles should be strictly avoided. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 700 people die each year in the US due to heat-related causes.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, temperatures are forecasted to reach a high of 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius) on Sunday. If this occurs, it would break the city’s all-time hottest temperature on record, set in July 1942 and matched in July 2021. El Paso, Texas, has already experienced triple-digit temperatures for 27 consecutive days, surpassing its previous record of 23 consecutive days set in 1994. The extreme heat is projected to persist.

Efforts are underway to assist those most vulnerable to the heatwave. Cooling shelters have been opened in Phoenix for the homeless, and volunteers are making wellness calls to seniors and individuals living alone. The city has also distributed thousands of water bottles as part of its heat relief program.

The scorching conditions in the US are part of a larger global trend. Similar heatwaves are gripping Europe, with Spain, France, Greece, Croatia, and Turkey all expected to see temperatures exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). In Italy, there have been reports of people, including tourists, collapsing due to the extreme heat, with at least one fatality.

Scientists attribute the rising temperatures to climate change and the recurring weather phenomenon known as El Niño, which causes temperature spikes every three to seven years. The world has already experienced a 1.1-degree Celsius increase since the industrial era began, and temperatures will keep rising unless significant cuts to emissions are made worldwide.