Another blistering, brutal heat wave is forecast to scorch much of the western U.S. this weekend, meteorologists say.
All-time record high temperatures could be registered in cities such as Las Vegas and Sacramento, while notorious hot spot Death Valley has already recorded a temperature only few degrees short of Earth’s hottest ever measured.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service said Death Valley hit 130 degrees Friday afternoon, but the observed high temperature was considered preliminary and needs to be validated. Temperatures were creeping upward again Saturday and hit 123 degrees in the early afternoon.
“These extreme temps are NO joke! Be mindful before heading outdoors this weekend. Do not put yourself, nor first responders in danger!” the National Weather Service Las Vegas said.
Las Vegas’ all-time high is 117 degrees and Sacramento’s is 115 degrees.
“Some locations may tie or break their high temperature record for the day,” the National Weather Service Sacramento wrote on Twitter early Saturday.
More than 32 million people in the West live where an excessive heat warning or heat advisory is in effect, the National Weather Service said.
Global warming to blame?: The heat wave in the West ‘virtually impossible’ without climate change
The savage heat comes as the U.S. is already reeling from its hottest June on record, according to a report released Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
June 2021 was the hottest June in 127 years of record-keeping, surpassing the record set in 2016, NOAA said.
Temperatures were so hot in the Pacific Northwest and Canada last week, the heat may have killed more than one billion seashore animals living along the coastline, Chris Harley, a marine biologist at the University of British Columbia, told several news outlets.
The predicted exceptional temperatures this weekend are linked to a “heat dome,” or a ridge of high pressure, establishing itself over the Four Corners region of the Southwest U.S., the Capital Weather Gang said.
Heat domes have occurred more frequently as global temperatures have increased over the years.
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“Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses,” the weather service warned. “Confidence is very high for a dangerous heat wave to persist through Monday and maybe into Tuesday,” the weather service said.
And as for the influence of human-caused climate change, every heat wave occurring today is made more likely and more intense by climate change, a study released this week found.
That study said that last week’s deadly and record-breaking heat wave in parts of the Western U.S. and Canada would have been “virtually impossible” without the influence of climate change. It also said global warming made the extreme temperatures at least 150 times more likely to occur.
Contributing: Grace Hauck
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Weekend heat forecast in West; Las Vegas record could be broken