Millions of U.S. residents across the West, from Arizona up to the Canadian border, are currently enduring a brutal heat wave. And on Sunday, the lowest and driest national park in the country, Death Valley, recorded a scorching temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
If verified, the recording from this weekend marks the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth in over a century, reports CNN. The all-time record was reported in Death Valley in 1913 at 134 degrees. The NWS has warned folks currently in the impacted Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and eastern California areas to stay cool indoors and only go outside between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. CNN meteorologist Tyler Mauldin stated that the blistering heat is due to high pressure that has settled over much of the West Coast.
Typically, this time of August is North American monsoon season in the western and southwestern U.S., NWS meteorologist Daniel Berc told CNN. However, the monsoon has not developed as it normally should, so rainfall hasn’t shown up. This anomaly has resulted in Death Valley being significantly hotter under all of the high pressure.
Sweltering heat isn’t the worst of it, either. There are much more worrisome developments. According to Wildfire Today, on Saturday, the NWS issued a fire tornado warning (you read that right) just northwest of Reno, NV, after least five tornado-strength/scale vortices were reported. Meanwhile, in Colorado, last week’s Grizzly Creek Fire has completely shut down Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, disrupting more than typical summer travel through the Rockies after burning more than 1,400 acres, reports the Denver Post.
For the next few days, it’s important to stay safe by keeping alert of ongoing fire conditions, and to manage local heat: Keep covered from the sun, wear sunblock, retreat to cooler areas whenever possible, and always stay hydrated.
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