Severe Heatwave: Death Valley To Reach 120 Degrees As Rising Temps Sweep US

Warning sign in Death Valley National Park (California, USA). Death Valley National Park is known for dangerously high temperatures in summer. Angel DiBilio/Shutterstock

An excessive heat warning remains in effect in parts of Southern California as temperatures continue to rise above 37.8°C (100°F), with Death Valley National Park and the Lower Colorado River Valley potentially reaching up to 48.8°C (120°F).

It comes as much of the US is gripped by a late summer heatwave. Heat and humidity are sweeping the northeastern part of the US, while the western part of the country sees record-setting temperatures that could continue for more than a week. Denver broke a 33-year-old record with a new daily high of 36.7°C (98°F) and Phoenix similarly set a 1986 heat record earlier this week at 45°C (113°F), the National Weather Service (NWS) posted in a tweet.

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An excessive heat warning is issued by a county when a heat index is expected to reach temperatures of 40.5°C (105°F) or more lasting for two hours or longer that can seriously affect people and animals if precautions are not taken. Heat warnings alert hospitals and officials to take precautions in advance of an uptick in emergencies, including preparations to check on the elderly and those who are home-bound.

“Heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke will be possible. People most vulnerable to heat illnesses include those who spend lots of time outdoors, those without air conditioning, young children, the elderly, and those with chronic ailments,” wrote the National Weather Service in a notice.

During times of extreme heat, experts warn that people who are most vulnerable to heat illnesses – such as those who spend time outdoors or without air conditioning, young children, the chronically ill, and the elderly – should be especially aware. Children and pets should never be left inside a vehicle on a warm day and should remain indoors in places with air conditioning, advises the Department of Homeland Security. If outside, find shade and if your home is not equipped with air conditioning, then visit public places that may have it, such as a local library or movie theater. Wearing loose, light-weight, and light-colored clothing and drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated will also protect you and others from heat exhaustion or heatstroke.  

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