Jun 22, 2017

Deadly Southwest heat wave to last through weekend

Needles, CA
Las Vegas, NV
USA
by
Doyle Rice
,
USA Today
People cross Las Vegas Boulevard as the sun beats down June 20, 2017, in Las Vegas. Photo: John Locher, AP
People cross Las Vegas Boulevard as the sun beats down June 20, 2017, in Las Vegas. Photo: John Locher, AP

The deadly, record-breaking heat wave that has scorched the Desert Southwest and California the past few days will continue into early next week, meteorologists say.

Excessive heat warnings will remain in effect through Monday for much of the region, according to the National Weather Service.

The heat has been blamed for four deaths in Nevada, two deaths in New Mexico and one in California.

Already this week, during what's been called the USA's most extreme heat wave in years, Las Vegas tied its all-time record high temperature of 117 degrees Tuesday. Needles, Calif., home to Snoopy's brother Spike, also tied its all-time high of 125 degrees.

Tucson sweltered to its hottest three-day stretch ever. Wednesday's 115-degree high there was the third consecutive day the city reached that measurement. 

In Tucson, meteorologist Eric Holthaus said, "It feels like another planet."

Searing temperatures are also a factor in several wildfires now burning across the Southwest, including one in Utah that forced the evacuation of hundreds of people and shut down part of a state highway, the Associated Press said.

The hot air started cranking up to full force on Monday and Tuesday. Flights were canceled and energy consumption was pushed to a high demand, AccuWeather said.

The heat is due to a massive ridge of high pressure, which weather service meteorologist Dan Gregoria described as a "hot dome of air."