Phoenix hits record as scorching heat grips the Southwest

Record high temperatures hit or were about to land in California and Arizona on Saturday as dangerous heat swept across the American Southwest.

The National Weather Service in Phoenix reported a temperature of 114 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius), matching the record for the date set in 1918.

Meanwhile, temperatures in several inland areas of California reached triple digits by midday, with Death Valley’s expected high of 123°F (50°C).

Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories were issued for parts of Northern California through the Central Valley and as far as the southeastern deserts.

The National Weather Service also forecast 114 F (46 C) in Palm Springs and temperatures around 100 F (38 C) in the San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento area.

The heat was expected to extend into the interior of the San Francisco Bay Area, but most coastal areas of California remained free of heat advisories.

The scorching heat in Northern California was expected to ease on Saturday night. The heat advisory in parts of Southern California has been extended through Sunday.

Meteorologists warned of a very high “heat risk” in south-central Arizona all weekend. The high temperatures would likely be approaching record-breaking territory — somewhere between 110 F (43 C) and 115 F (46 C). They have urged the public to limit outdoor activities.

Las Vegas, parts of New Mexico and Texas will also see three-digit numbers.

Heat is part of the desert summer’s normal routine, but weather forecasters say it doesn’t mean people should feel comfortable. Excessive heat causes more deaths in the US than other weather-related disasters, including hurricanes, floods and tornadoes combined.

Scientists say there will be more frequent and intense heat waves in the future due to climate change and increasing drought.

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