Heatwave in US: Las Vegas aims for record fifth straight day of temperatures above 46 degrees Celsius

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas residents are used to ignoring the heat, but now they’re keeping an eye on the thermometer as the desert city on Wednesday heads toward setting a record for the most consecutive days with temperatures above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) amid a ongoing heat wave that will continue to plague much of the US into the weekend.

On Tuesday, Las Vegas again flirted with the all-time temperature record of 120°F (48.8°C) set on Sunday, but held off for a new daily record of 119°F (48.3°C), breaking the old record of 116°F (46.6°C) set for that date in 2021. Weather experts predict the city will likely top 115°F (46.1°C) for the fifth day in a row on Wednesday.

Even by desert standards, the prolonged heat experienced by Nevada’s largest city is unprecedented.


People seek refuge in mist along the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

“This is the most extreme heat wave in the history of record keeping in Las Vegas since 1937,” said meteorologist John Adair, a three-decade veteran of the National Weather Service’s southern Nevada office.

Tuesday’s high tied the record of four consecutive days above 115 F (46.1 C) set in July 2005. Adair said the record could extend through Friday.

Alyse Sobosan said this July has been the hottest in the 15 years she has lived in Las Vegas. Sobosan, a charter school counselor on summer vacation, said she avoids going outside during the day if she can help it and waits until 9 p.m. or later to walk her dogs.

“It’s oppressively hot,” she said. “It’s like you can’t really live your life.”

Health officials stress that it is dangerously hot.

“Even average-aged people who appear healthy can develop heat illness if it’s so hot that it’s hard for your body to cool down,” said Alexis Brignola, an epidemiologist with the Southern Nevada Health District.

The scorching heat wave that gripped much of the US also led to record daily temperatures. high temperatures in Oregon, where it is believed to have caused eight deaths, the state coroner’s office said. More than 142 million A heat warning was in effect across the US on Wednesday, especially in the western states.


Southern Nevada outreach workers speak with Darryl Walker, right, a homeless man in Las Vegas, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)


People walk in the sunshine along the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

On the other side of the country, the National Weather Service warned of a high to extreme heat risk over parts of the East Coast.

An extreme heat warning remained in effect Wednesday for the Philadelphia area, northern Delaware and most of New Jersey. Temperatures hovered around 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 degrees Celsius) for most of the region, and meteorologists warned that the heat index could reach 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 degrees Celsius). The warning was set to expire at 8 p.m. Wednesday, though meteorologists said it may need to be extended.

Dozens of locations across the West equaled or broke previous heat records over the weekend and are expected to continue to do so throughout the week, although the end of the siege was in sight in some areas.


Matt Fiedler takes a photo of daughter Sally Fiedler, left, and wife Cecilia Fiedler by the thermometer at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Death Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ty ONeil)

The heat was accused of the death of a motorcyclist over the weekend in Death Valley National Park. On Tuesday, tourists in Death Valley lined up for photos in front of a giant thermometer that read 120 F (48.9 C).

Simon Pell and Lisa Gregory from London left their air-conditioned camper van to experience midday heat that would be unthinkable at home.

“I don’t need a thermometer to know it’s hot,” Pell said. “You hear about it in stories and nature documentaries. But I just wanted to experience what it would feel like. … It’s an incredible experience.”

According to AP correspondent Jennifer King, the heat wave continues to ravage the American population.

Death Valley is considered one of the most extreme environments on Earth, with a temperature of 130 F (54.4 C) recorded there in July 2021.

Also Tuesday, record temperatures were reached in parts of Oregon and Washington. In Portland, the temperature reached 103 degrees Fahrenheit and in Salem and Eugene it reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed two new suspected heat-related deaths Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths during the heat wave to eight. One was an 83-year-old man in Washington County and the other was a 72-year-old man in Multnomah County. Seven of the dead were men and one was a woman. The youngest was 33, but all the others were 64 and older.


People shield their eyes from the sun on the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

The National Park Service was investigating the third hiker to die in recent weeks at the Grand Canyon, where temperatures on parts of some trails can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) in the shade. Bystanders and medical personnel tried unsuccessfully to perform CPR on the 50-year-old man Sunday, the park service said.

Phoenix, which saw the highest temperature ever recorded in the first eight days of July since 1885, on Tuesday tied the daily record of 116 degrees Fahrenheit (46.6 degrees Fahrenheit) set in 1958.

The heat wave in the US came as global temperatures hit a record high in June for the 13th month in a row and marked the 12th consecutive month that the world was 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than in pre-industrial times, according to Europe’s climate service Copernicus. Most of this heat, trapped by human-caused climate change, comes from long-term warming from greenhouse gases released from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, scientists say.

In Las Vegas, hotels and casinos are keeping visitors cool with massive AC units. But for homeless residents and others without access to safe spaces, officials have set up emergency cooling centers in community centers across Southern Nevada.

Firefighters in Henderson, Nevada, last week became the first in the region to deploy what city spokeswoman Madeleine Skains called “polar pods” to cool down a person showing symptoms of heatstroke or a related medical emergency.

Skains said four vehicles, including battalion chiefs in the city of more than 330,000 people, have equipment similar to the units first put into service a month ago in PhoenixThey can be filled with water and ice to immerse a medical patient in cold water on the way to the hospital.


This satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows an active burn line from the Lake Fire, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Santa Barbara County, California. (Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies via AP)

The extreme heat in the west has also dried out the vegetation, causing forest fires.

A new blaze in Oregon, dubbed the Larch Creek Fire, quickly grew to more than 5 square miles (12 square kilometers) Tuesday night as flames tore through grassland in Wasco County. Evacuations were ordered for isolated homes about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of The Dalles.

In California, firefighters battled at least 19 wildfires on Wednesday, including a 43-square-mile (117-square-kilometer) blaze that forced the evacuation of about 200 homes in the mountains of Santa Barbara County.

Northeast of Los Angeles, the 3.7-square-mile Vista Fire burned through trees in the Mount Baldy area of ​​the San Bernardino National Forest, sending up a massive smoke plume visible across the region.

The National Weather Service said extreme heat warnings have been extended through Saturday morning for most of the Southwest U.S.

“It’s not over yet,” the Reno service said.


Weber reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press reporters Anita Snow in Phoenix; Ty O’Neil in Death Valley, Calif.; Rio Yamat in Las Vegas; Scott Sonner and Gabe Stern in Reno, Nev.; Martha Bellisle in Seattle and Bruce Shipkowski in Toms River, New Jersey; contributed to this report.

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