High heat in Death Valley pushed the mercury up to 128 degrees Fahrenheit about three weeks ago, far above what’s normal there for this time of year. And another round of above-average heat was building in the region, which could send temperatures just as high over the weekend.
Sunday’s high in Death Valley is forecast to reach 130 degrees, which would be within four degrees of the record set there in 1913 of 134. The 134-degree mark happens to be the world record for the highest temperature ever measured on Earth. AccuWeather forecasts show that the RealFeel could reach 132 degrees Sunday in Death Valley.
The high temperatures are a result of a heat dome, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. The phenomenon occurs when there is an area of high pressure, not only in the lower part of the atmosphere but also at the jet stream level, Sosnowski explained.
Death Valley, along with parts of Nye County and the Mojave Desert, is set to be under an excessive heat warning from 8 a.m. Wednesday through 8 p.m. PDT Monday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). On Wednesday, the first day of that warning, the temperature soared to 126 degrees in Death Valley.
Last month, during the heat wave the gripped the Southwest, AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell was on the ground in Death Valley at the height of the heat, and he spoke with people from around the country who happened to have been visiting during the hot spell.
|FILE – In this Aug. 17, 2020, file photo, Steve Krofchik cools off with a bottle of ice water on his head in Death Valley National Park, Calif. Climate-connected disasters seem everywhere in the crazy year 2020, but scientists Wednesday, Sept. 9, say it’ll get worse. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
“This is exceptionally hot. It’s scary how hot it is,” Linda Utz of Titusville, Florida, marveled. “We planned this trip last October and made reservations,” she explained to Wadell. “While we knew it would be warm because it was summer, we never expected this type of heat.”
And as far as it goes for people who spend almost all of their time in Death Valley, “This is an extremely hot place for us to live and work, as well as it is for people to visit,” Abby Wines, Death Valley National Park spokesperson, said. “There is something to be said for climatizing, so a person who acclimatizes to a high altitude, their body can adjust somewhat to dealing with extreme heat.”
The stretch of weather extending through the end of the week could bring “dangerously hot conditions,” according to the NWS. The western Mojave Desert and Owens Valley could see temperatures as high as 110 degrees. The region could see record-rivaling or record-breaking temperatures.
Bishop, California, already saw a record-high temperature of 105 degrees Tuesday, tying a previous record set in 1945, according to a record report from the NWS.
Just last week, the Northwest battled a round of its own record-breaking temperatures. The historic heat wave stretched well into Canada as Lytton, British Columbia, broke a national record at 121 degrees, Canada’s government weather service reported. Within days of reaching that mark, the small town was devastated by wildfires, which consumed 90% of the village.
British Columbia’s chief coroner said that there were 486 reports of “sudden and unexpected” deaths in a five-day period during the heat wave, according to The Associated Press. The province usually sees about 165 deaths within that time interval.
Meanwhile, in Washington, there were at least 676 emergency department visits over a three-day period during the heat wave.
The NWS cautioned that the warm conditions in the Southwest could increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, especially for those who are outside. The heat warning encourages people to drink plenty of fluids and to stick to air-conditioned spaces.
A number of cooling stations will be activated in Clark County, Nevada, from July 7 to 12, according to a tweet from the city of Las Vegas, which cautioned residents about the dangers of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Heat is the most deadly weather impact annually in the U.S. Extreme heat has contributed to an average of 138 fatalities every year over the past 30 years.
In addition, high heat is notorious for causing a spike in visits to the hospital. According to data compiled by Climate Central, as extreme heat builds, the risk of heat-related illnesses also mounts. The Climate Central data shows a correlation between a rise in hospital visits for different parts of the country as temperatures rise, noting that “People in historically cooler regions may be less acclimatized to heat, and lack the infrastructure to cope with it.”