Record-Breaking Heatwave Sweeps Across US Southwest

Record-Breaking Heatwave Sweeps Across US Southwest

A scorching heatwave is engulfing the US southwest, smashing temperature records and prompting widespread concern for residents' safety as the mercury soars past 110F (43C). From California to Arizona, the blistering conditions have left half of Arizona and Nevada under an excessive heat alert, extending into Friday evening and Saturday in Las Vegas, marking an unusually early onset of intense heat.

Despite the official start of summer still being two weeks away, the National Weather Service warns of temperatures surging 10 to 15 degrees above normal, with record highs expected to persist through Friday. This extraordinary heatwave, characterized as "dangerously hot" by the National Weather Service in Phoenix, has caught many off guard.

"It's so hot," remarked nine-year-old Eleanor Wallace, who, along with her mother, Megan Wallace, was visiting Phoenix from northern Utah. As temperatures climbed to a new record high of 113F on Thursday, surpassing the previous 2016 mark, concerns over heat-related incidents grew.

Fortunately, there were no immediate reports of heat-related deaths or serious injuries. However, at a campaign rally for Donald Trump in Phoenix, 11 individuals fell ill from heat exhaustion and were hospitalized. Similarly, in Las Vegas, the Clark County fire department responded to numerous calls for heat exposure, with nine patients requiring hospital treatment.

Areas across Arizona, California, and Nevada witnessed record-breaking temperatures, including Death Valley National Park, where the mercury soared to a staggering 122F, surpassing the previous record set in 1996. Even regions typically cooler at higher elevations, such as Reno, experienced unprecedented heat, with temperatures reaching a record high of 98F, far above the usual 81F.

While the National Weather Service forecasts mild cooling over the weekend, temperatures in central and southern Arizona are expected to remain in the triple digits, potentially reaching 110F. Despite the relief, the oppressive heat poses challenges for residents and visitors alike.

Despite the sweltering conditions, some individuals braved the heat for special occasions. Oscar Tomasio of Cleveland, Ohio, proposed to his girlfriend, Megan McCracken, during a sunrise hike on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. Although the extreme heat cut their hike short, Tomasio seized the moment as the sun rose, proposing amidst the breathtaking views.

Reflecting on the challenging hike, Megan McCracken shared, "We started just a few minutes after six and it's like we came prepared, but we got through all of our water and it was hot – hotter than we're used to."

As communities grapple with the unprecedented heatwave, authorities urge residents to take precautions to stay safe. Staying hydrated, avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, and seeking shade or air-conditioned spaces are crucial measures to mitigate the risks associated with extreme heat.

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