Nearly the entire western United States has been put on “standby” this week due to a particularly early heat wave with temperatures that could range from 50 ° C in places.
“Across the western parts of the United States, a long-lasting and potentially record heat wave is underway, affecting a total of about 50 million people, the U.S. National Weather Service warned. The peak temperature will vary by area,” but the trend is well above normal. high “, and the phenomenon will last at least until the weekend, they add.
On average, temperatures are about 11 ° C higher than seasonal averages, and especially in the arid and desert areas of Arizona and Nevada, drops can be recorded.
For example, the city of Phoenix recorded a temperature of 46 ° C (115 ° F) on Monday, and the mercury could approach 48 ° C at the end of the week according to the latest forecasts, with minimums remaining above 30 ° every night compared to.
Such conditions are “rare, dangerous and fatal,” experts warn.
In neighboring Nevada, Las Vegas risks breaking the heat record set in 1940, with a thermometer that could exceed 46.5 ° C on Wednesday. Such an extreme and prolonged episode has not been recorded in this region since early summer 2013, according to local media.
Authorities set up “refreshment stations” in different parts of the city and, with specialized “influencers,” organized a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers posed by pets and their owners during the heat.
The world temperature record was officially recorded on July 10, 1913, not far from Las Vegas, in the California part of Death Valley: 56.7 ° C.
In addition to the impact of the heat on health, authorities also fear the consequences of extreme heat for forest fires, especially early and intense this year, exacerbated by a chronic drought raging in the American West.
According to the latest data from government agencies, 88% of the region was in a drought, including all of California, Oregon, Utah and Nevada.
However, these dry soils and parched vegetation in turn create the conditions for temperatures to rise, establishing a destructive vicious circle.