More than 50 million people are being warned of sweltering temperatures Saturday as an early-season heat wave hits southwestern states from California to Texas.
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 and Oklahoma are under a heat advisory, 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 hit 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 forecaster 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 have highs of 110 to 115 degrees through the weekend. It’ll be hottest in Death Valley, where it’s expected to top 120 degrees for the first time this year.
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To stay safe, the NWS recommends people stay indoors, seek out air-conditioned buildings, drink water, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing, and check-in with others.
“Heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. This is something to watch out for,” Jackson said. “So, just a repeat of taking care of yourself and your neighbors.”
High pressure is to blame for the weekend heat wave, forecasters say. More air than average is spreading over the Southwest, creating a dome of hot, dry air.
The excessive heat warning is set to remain in effect until Sunday evening before the heat makes a move toward the center of the country and then to the east next week, Jackson said.
“This is a significant heat wave, particularly early in the season for June, that works its way across the country over the next five days,” he said.