Environment

Temperatures This Summer Are About to Get Outrageous

If you live in the western United States, we've got some bad news for you: it's about to get really, really hot.

We know, we know. You're used to this. But the National Weather Service is predicting "record-breaking" temperatures in what could be our worst heat wave yet.

"Record-breaking, dangerous heat will develop this weekend in parts of the southwestern U.S., especially in the deserts where temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit will be possible on Sunday through Wednesday," the NWS reports.

The Southwestern U.S. will be particularly affected, so if you live in Arizona, Nevada, or Southern California, you need to be prepared.

Here are some tips.

The NWS is offering tips and advice on how to handle this extreme heat.

Here they are, directly from the site:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Stay in an air-conditioned room.
  • Stay out of the sun.
  • If you have to be outside, avoid prolonged exposure or strenuous activity.
  • Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages (as they tend to dehydrate).
  • Wear light and loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave your children or pets in a locked vehicle unattended.

Why is this happening?

We've all heard, now more than ever, about the potential effects of climate change — including extreme weather events like heat waves. In March, The Guardian reported on the 2016 trend of record-breaking heat, looking into the impacts of El Niño and climate change.

“The bottom line is that the contributions of the current El Niño and wind patterns to the very warm conditions globally over the last couple of months are relatively small compared to the anthropogenically driven increase in global temperature since pre-industrial times,” Jeff Knight, of the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, told The Guardian.

That Phoenix, Arizona may reach temperatures the 120's (Fahrenheit) isn't new; starting in 1990, Phoenix began to reach temperatures that high, according to The Washington Post. If that happens this weekend or upcoming week, it will be for the fourth time in history since then, which shows that this surge in temperature is fairly recent.

This particular heat wave can be blamed on "an enormous, sprawling high-pressure heat dome" that will reach from San Diego to Kansas City, the Washington Post reports.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the United States was 134 degrees Fahrenheit. It occurred in Death Valley, California, in July of 1913. The second highest was also in Death Valley in 2013, where temperatures reached 129 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking the all-time high June record. That record could be broken this weekend, reports AccuWeather.

Dangers of high heat.

When the temperatures reach such heights, certain areas in the U.S. like California, New Mexico, and Arizona are in danger of brush fires.

Heat exhaustion can occur in babies, the elderly, and those with existing health conditions. Between 2006 and 2010, "some 3,000 Americans died from heat-related illnesses," reports Fox 12 Oregon.

Be sure to wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water.