Dangerous heat wave could break temperature records, again, in cities across the country this week (2024)


By Emily Mae Czachor

/ CBS News

Millions under heat alerts in Southwest

A blistering heat wave that recently brought record-breaking temperatures to large sections of the southwestern United States, including several major cities, is forecast to continue this week as it tracks over much of the country on its way toward the East Coast. Meanwhile, meteorologists have warned that powerful storm weather could dump as much as a foot of rain, or more, on parts of Florida and potentially give rise to another round of tornado threats in central states. Metropolitan areas like Chicago may be affected by a possible twister.

"As we get to these first couple weeks of June, a lot of places are really starting to see those temperatures escalate," Todd Shoemake, of the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, told the Associated Press on Monday. "Southern California, southern Nevada, southwestern Arizona, they're starting to see lots of triple digits."

Record heat in the western U.S.

Extreme heat alerts were active Monday for more than 20 million people across the Southwest, where various heat watches and warnings were set to become effective Tuesday and remain in place through Thursday in several areas, including vast swaths of Arizona, California and Nevada. Those three states shouldered most of the burden of the heat dome that blanketed the American West last week, driving temperatures up into the triple digits and reaching record heights in cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The dome of sizzling temperatures in the West early week will engulf the Nation's Heartland starting Wednesday, then spread across the southern & eastern U.S. the second half of the week. While these regions heat up, the Pacific Northwest can expect a cool down by next weekend. pic.twitter.com/jtvmZ0FLpX

— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) June 9, 2024

On Thursday and Friday, temperatures in Las Vegas soared to 111 degrees Fahrenheit and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, sealing new records for those days in the desert metro center, according to the National Weather Service. In Phoenix, the temperature jumped to 110 degrees on Thursday, the highest recorded so far in 2024, and went on to set a new record high temperature of 113 degrees as the heat persisted. In Albuquerque, temperatures reached 110 degrees on Friday, tying the city's record-high reading set in 1981. Temperatures in and around New Mexico's capital are typically some 20 degrees lower at this time of year.

More temperature records could be tied or broken this week in some places, although there will likely be fewer than last week, CBS News senior weather producer David Parkinson reported. Still, the Weather Prediction Centersaidin its latest weekly forecast that temperature anomalies would probably be par for the course while extreme heat lingers in the Southwest over the next several days, before moving on through the middle of the country and eventually arriving in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

"As for anomalous temperatures, an amplified mean upper ridge slated to slowly shift from the West/Southwest to the south-central U.S. and parts of the East will continue to produce much warmer than average temperatures," meteorologists wrote in that forecast. They noted that the most significant temperature anomalies would likely materialize in the Great Basin before shifting eastward into the Rockies and Great Plains. In those parts, high temperatures could depart as much as 10 or 20 degrees from the norm.

Desert Southwest

That could pose serious threats to communities across the Desert Southwest and South Texas.

"It's crucial for residents and individuals involved in outdoor activities to stay informed and take necessary precautions," the weather prediction center said, for people in California and across the Southwest. In Phoenix, for example, the National Weather Service announced on Sunday that an excessive heat watch was in place for Tuesday through Thursday, with other parts of south-central and northwestern Arizona included.

The weather service has since upgraded that alert to a heat warning, which is more serious, for Phoenix along with most of south-central Arizona. Meteorologists said temperatures could reach 112 degrees in the city this week.

Temps are expected to rise to heat up heading into midweek. An Excessive Heat Warning is now in effect for most of south-central AZ Tuesday-Thursday. Tuesday temperatures increase to 110°F before peaking at 110-112°F Wednesday and Thursday across the lower deserts. #azwx pic.twitter.com/Uj0w4hoeiJ

— NWS Phoenix (@NWSPhoenix) June 10, 2024

The weather service in Phoenix urged people to take precautions as the heat wave rolls in. In a social media post shared Monday, the agency said that the level of sweltering heat expected brings with it a "high risk of heat stress or illnesses for anyone without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration." Meteorologists advised people in the region to avoid exposure to the sun entirely from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time while the heat warning is in place. Phoenix has established public "cooling centers" for people without access to air conditioning, as well as free transportation to those facilities.

In Las Vegas — which just experienced its hottest first week of June since temperature records began in 1937 — the heat was also expected to push temperatures well into the triple digits during the city's heat warning period, from Tuesday morning until Wednesday night, meteorologists said.

"Temperatures return to dangerous levels on Tuesday and Wednesday, with afternoon highs 8 to 12 degrees above normal," the weather service in Las Vegas wrote on social media Sunday.

East Coast and Mid-Atlantic

Extreme weather is forecast to touch the eastern U.S. later this week.

Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and scattered parts of Maryland and Virginia are all expected to see temperatures climb and reach a higher-than-normal threshold by Friday. Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia are both candidates to break temperature records as the heat wave settles in, Parkinson reported. Both of those cities, along with pockets of surrounding states, are coded with a "red alert" for Friday on a heat map developed by the weather prediction center, which projects temperature patterns over the next few days.

"This level of heat affects anyone without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration. Impacts likely in some health systems, heat-sensitive industries and infrastructure," the weather prediction center said, noting that the heat poses a "major risk for much of the population."

  • Weather Forecast
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Emily Mae Czachor

Emily Mae Czachor is a reporter and news editor at CBSNews.com. She covers breaking news, often focusing on crime and extreme weather. Emily Mae has previously written for outlets including the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed and Newsweek.

Dangerous heat wave could break temperature records, again, in cities across the country this week (2024)


Where is the heatwave in America? ›

Record-breaking US heat wave scorches the Midwest and Northeast, bringing safety measures. TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Stifling heat blanketed tens of millions across United States on Tuesday, forcing people and even zoo animals to find ways to cool down as summer arrives in what promises to be a sweltering week.

Why are heat waves often more dangerous in cities than in the surrounding areas? ›

For one, they hold most of the world's population. Their exposure to high temperatures is amplified by the urban heat island effect, where buildings, concrete and other infrastructure trap heat. Density, air pollution, poverty and geography further increase the vulnerability of many people in cities.

What is causing the heat wave? ›

A heatwave can be caused by several factors including a heat dome, which occurs when strong, high pressure traps hot air over a region, preventing cool air from traveling in and causing temperatures to rise on the ground and stay high.

What is the effect of a heat wave? ›

Heatwaves can burden health and emergency services and also increase strain on water, energy and transportation resulting in power shortages or even blackouts. Food and livelihood security may also be strained if people lose their crops or livestock due to extreme heat.

Which part of USA is very hot? ›

Death Valley is famous as the hottest place on earth and driest place in North America. The world record highest air temperature of 134°F (57°C) was recorded at Furnace Creek on July 10, 1913. Summer temperatures often top 120°F (49°C) in the shade with overnight lows dipping into the 90s°F (mid-30s°C.)

Where is America's hottest city? ›

What Is The Hottest Place in the United States? Death Valley, California, recorded a temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913. More than a century later, that temperature remains the highest ever recorded in the United States.

How long does a heat wave last? ›

A heat wave is a period of abnormally hot weather generally lasting more than two days. Heat waves can occur with or without high humidity. They have potential to cover a large area, exposing a high number of people to hazardous heat.

How does heat affect cities? ›

Heat islands are urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas. Structures such as buildings, roads, and other infrastructure absorb and re-emit the sun's heat more than natural landscapes such as forests and water bodies.

What was the worst heat wave in history? ›

List of the 10 worst heat waves in the world:
  • European heat wave - 2003 - Number of victims: 70,000 people.
  • Russian heat wave - 2010 - Number of victims: 56,000 people.
  • North American heat wave - 1988 - Number of victims: 10,000 people.
  • American heat wave - 1980 - Number of victims: 10,000 people.
Jul 10, 2023

What is a heat dome in 2024? ›

A heat dome is a weather phenomenon where a high-pressure area is formed in the atmosphere, which traps hot air beneath like a lid traps air in a pot. The pressure pushes air down into a hotter, dome-shaped mass and prevents the milder weather systems from moving through.

How long do heat domes last? ›

How long do heat domes last? They can last anywhere from days to weeks. For instance, an extreme heat dome over Canada and the northwest US in 2021 lasted nearly a month. During this event, the temperature reached nearly 50°C (122°F) in British Columbia, the highest ever recorded in Canada.

What should you do in a heat wave? ›

Keep cool: use air conditioning or a fan, wear light and loose-fitting clothing, and keep skin wet, using a spray bottle or damp sponge and by taking cool showers. Stay hydrated: during days of extreme heat, keep drinking water before you feel thirsty, especially if outdoors or performing physical activity.

What medical conditions require air conditioning? ›

Chronic Conditions That Can't Take the Heat
  • Arthritis. You may have heard people with arthritis claim they can predict the weather by their joint pain. ...
  • Autoimmune Conditions. ...
  • Fibromyalgia. ...
  • Migraines. ...
  • Multiple Sclerosis. ...
  • Respiratory Illnesses. ...
  • Rosacea.
Jun 22, 2022

What are the first signs of heat exhaustion? ›

Possible heat exhaustion symptoms include:
  • Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat.
  • Heavy sweating.
  • Faintness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Weak, rapid pulse.
  • Low blood pressure upon standing.
  • Muscle cramps.
Apr 6, 2023

What can extreme heat do to your body? ›

The strain put on the body as it tries to cool itself also stresses the heart and kidneys. As a result, heat extremes can worsen health risks from chronic conditions (cardiovascular, mental, respiratory and diabetes related conditions) and cause acute kidney injury.

What part of the US is most affected by extreme heat? ›

According to a new report and study that model how climate change will alter the heat index in the U.S. – a benchmark used by the National Weather Service that combines both temperature and humidity to better capture how weather "feels" – the biggest swings will occur in the Southeast and southern Plains, with Florida ...

Why is it so hot right now? ›

But climate change, caused by human activities that release plant-warming gasses like carbon dioxide, is causing global temperatures to be warmer than normal.

Where was the hottest day in America? ›

It is no surprise that the hottest temperatures in the U.S. have been recorded in the Desert Southwest. In fact, the highest temperature recorded in California, 134 degrees, is also the current hottest air temperature on record on Earth and was measured in Death Valley, California, on July 10, 1913.

Where is the heat dome? ›

The heat dome will affect a broad swath of the eastern half of the country, from roughly the Great Plains states up through Maine. Some locations could see their hottest temperatures on record for any month, Masters said.

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