USA

Heatwave in California: what temperatures are expected and which cities are on alert?

The US National Weather Service has issued warnings in California, Arizona and Nevada with temperatures forecast to peak at well over 100º Fahrenheit.

Heatwave in California: what temperatures are expected and which cities are on alert?
ETIENNE LAURENT EFE

The National Weather Service has issued warnings in California, Nevada and Arizona as a heatwave sweeps across much of the southern USA this weekend, adding further pressure to hospitals already struggling to contend with the spread of the coronavirus in many states. Temperatures are expected to peak at 126 degrees Fahrenheit (52.2º Celsius) in Death Valley, California, with Phoenix expected to reach 117 degrees. That would represent a new record for the city, exceeding the 115 degree-high recorded in 2009. 

According to the World Meteorological Organization’s Weather and Climate Extremes archive, Furnace Creek in Death Valley recorded the hottest temperature in US history in July 1913 when the mercury topped out at 134.06º Fahrenheit (56.7º Celsius).

Excessive Heat Warnings have been issued in the areas expected to bear the brunt of the current heatwave, with the National Weather Service advising people to remain indoors during the hotter hours and to stay hydrated.

Elsewhere in California, Needles is expected to see 120º while Bishop is forecast to peak at 104º and Antelope Valley in LA County will reach 107º. Las Vegas will also swelter in temperatures of up to 113º.

US to bake in record July heat

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service have said the temperatures are not unusual for the time of year but the duration of the heatwave is. Forecasters have stated that the hot temperatures, created by a so-called heat dome of high pressure, could last throughout July across much of the USA. In Washington it is possible that a record set in the 1980s for consecutive days of 90º+ temperatures could be broken.

Overall, the National Weather Service has predicted that up to 75 temperature records could be exceeded across the US over the weekend and into Tuesday. Large swathes of the country are expected to experience 90º+ temperatures for much of the coming week with parts of Texas and Oklahoma forecast to top out at well above 100º.