More than 70 million people are being warned of sweltering temperatures on Saturday as an early-season heat wave hits a swath of the southern US from California to Arkansas.
On Saturday, National Weather Service stations in Phoenix, Houston, Albuquerque and San Antonio warned of extreme heat exceeding 110 degrees in some areas. Nearly all of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas are under heat advisories as the heat wave spreads north and east, the National Weather Service reports.
On Friday, Phoenix and Las Vegas reported record daily highs, according to the National Weather Service. Arizona’s capital city reached 113 degrees, surpassing its previous record of 111 set in 1978. Las Vegas reached 109, breaking the previous record, set in 1996, by 1 degree.
And, in New Mexico, Albuquerque reached 100 degrees for the first time this year.
“It’s really the first big heat wave of the season,” NWS meteorologist Bryan Jackson told USA TODAY on Friday. “It catches people off guard.”
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AccuWeather forecasters and NWS stations across the Southwest have warned that temperatures will be 5 to 10 degrees above normal averages this weekend.
Southwestern Arizona and southeastern California are expected to see highs of 110 to 115 degrees through the weekend. It will be hottest in Death Valley, where it is expected to top 120 degrees for the first time this year.
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To stay safe, the NWS recommends that people stay indoors, find air-conditioned buildings, drink water, wear light-colored, lightweight clothing, and check in with other people.
“Heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths. This is something to keep in mind,” Jackson said. “So just a repeat of taking care of himself and his neighbors.”
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“This is a significant heat wave, particularly in the early June season, that will sweep across the country for the next five days,” Jackson said.
Amid heat waves, experts advise residents to pay attention to the heat index in their areas, avoid strenuous outdoor activities, go to a public building like a library if air conditioning is not available in the home , drink plenty of water, wear light clothing and light-colored clothing and sunscreen, and understand the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.