Heat Dome’s triple-digit temperatures are roasting the American Southwest

video title, Californians Cope With Heat Dome’s Scorching Temperatures

  • author, Rachel Looker
  • stock, BBC News, Washington

Firefighters are on hand to smother heat-stroke victims in snow and some popular hiking trails in Arizona have been closed as millions of people in the southwestern United States plunge into record-breaking, triple-digit temperatures.

Two weeks before the official start of summer, extreme heat warnings were in effect for parts of California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas. Forecasters don’t see relief for a few more days.

Wednesday was forecast to reach 109F (42.7C) in Phoenix, 107F in Las Vegas, 110F in Palm Springs and 119F in Death Valley, California.

By the end of the day, the National Weather Service (NWS) says Americans in the region could experience “easily their warmest” weather since last September, according to the Associated Press.

The mercury rises as a result of a heat dome, an area of ​​high pressure where warm air is pushed down and trapped, causing temperatures to rise over large areas.

Temperatures will be 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit above average for this time of year, according to the NWS.

video title, A heat dome brings warmer temperatures to parts of the United States

In Arizona, the hottest big city in the US, firefighters placed at least one heat stroke victim inside human-sized immersion bags filled with ice cubes to reduce the patient’s body temperature on the way to the hospital.

All Phoenix Fire Department vehicles are equipped with bags.

Maricopa County, where Phoenix is ​​located, had 645 heat-related deaths last year.

The city is opening two overnight cooling stations for the first time this week.

The NWS predicted temperatures could reach 111F in the Grand Canyon and advised hikers to take extra caution when spending extended periods outside at low elevations.

The extreme heat has led Arizona officials to close popular trails on Camelback Mountain and Pistewa Peak.

Forecasters predict temperatures will reach 112F in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Statewide, temperatures are expected to range from 102F to 115F.

image source, Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu via Getty Images

image caption, Beachgoers enjoy San Francisco’s Baker Beach during a June 4 heat warning.

Triple-digit heat is a particular risk for homeless people, leading to a growing need for temperature-controlled shelters, advocates said.

Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) has the capacity to house 600 people when temperatures reach this level, its chief executive Philip Scharf told BBC News on Wednesday.

That need is now noticeable, he said.

“There is an increase in people seeking services and a change in behavior because it’s oppressively hot outside,” Mr Scharf said.

The heat has reached record temperatures, he said, with people not only looking for places to sleep but also places to stay during the day.

CASS, the largest single shelter in the state of Arizona, provides shelter, water, food and more to residents of the Phoenix area.

Maricopa County, where Phoenix is ​​located, has a high population of heat-related deaths among homeless and low-income residents, making this a much-needed service.

In Texas, San Angelo reached 111F on Tuesday, tying for the city’s fifth hottest temperature ever recorded, according to the local NWS office.

The heat warning is expected to last until the end of Friday.

Extreme temperatures are forecast to spread north into the Pacific Northwest by the end of the week.

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