west coast heat wave

What is looking like the makings of a record breaking heat wave is hitting the west coast over the next week. Some flights at Las Vegas’ airport were canceled due to high temperatures. Burn bans are running rampant across all of the U.S. even in states as far east as North Carolina and Tennessee. California’s statewide “flex alert,” which is a call for electricity conservation, was extended into the weekend due to the heat wave and a wildfire in southeastern Oregon threatening transmission lines. “It’s always hot, but it’s not always this hot,” said Clay Morgan, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Las Vegas, who called the heat unusual and approaching all-time records.

Flights Grounded for Heat

Due to the heat wave, California officials are urging residents to conserve power and cooling centers around the state are open. Las Vegas could see temperatures as high as 117 degrees. This has only happened four times in the city’s history, most recently in 2017. The temperature climbed to within one degree Friday, when the heat wave reached 116 degrees at McCarran International Airport. The airport in Grand Junction, Colorado, saw an all-time record high of 107 degrees, breaking the previous record of 106 from 2005. There were flight delays and some cancellations at the airports because of the heat. The Federal Aviation Administration implemented a traffic management program due to heat and wind, the agency and airport said. Southwest Airlines told frustrated passengers on Twitter that a number of its flights were canceled, citing the extreme heat wave. The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment about how many were affected. Excessive heat warnings covered a large area of the Western United States on Friday, from California and southeast Oregon into parts of Utah, Colorado and Arizona. The warning is meant to protect people and warn them against going out in the heat wave. 

heat wave west coast

Heat Wave Leaves Many Injured

There’s a dome-like area of  high pressure centered over the region causing the heatwave in many parts of the West. Last month was the hottest June on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said. This has led to multiple cases of heat-related injuries and deaths. 63 people have died due to heat in Oregon as of Friday, the Oregon medical examiner’s office said in a statement, and 32 other deaths were under investigation. In Palm Springs, California, simply going on a walk turned deadly in triple-digit heat. A rescue team rescued a hiker, who only wanted to be referred to as James, around 1pm from the side of a cliff where he had no water and was suffering from heat exhaustion and extreme sunburn. Multiple states on the West Coast have asked people not to go out hiking in the heat wave to prevent incidents like this. 

On Friday, Death Valley recorded a high temperature of 130 degrees, but the reading is considered preliminary and not yet validated, the weather service said. They also wanted to warn people against going out in the heatwave. “Heed these warnings,” it tweeted in all capital letters. “Do not put yourself, nor first responders in danger this weekend! Death Valley holds the world record for the hottest temperature on earth ever recorded, which was 134 degrees on July 10, 1913. Don’t get stuck in the heat, if you go out please plan accordingly and remember first responders are people like you, don’t put them in danger for no reason. Drink water, jump in the pool, use your sunscreen, and when you can stay away from the heat. 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

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