Millions in the US Under Excessive Heat Warnings

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Scorching heat is expected to make a large swath of the Sun Belt sizzle, with temperatures spanning around 100 degrees Fahrenheit for tens of millions of people residing around the Texas Gulf Coast and California’s Central Valley. The heat wave sweeping across Arizona, Nevada, and California has put more than 15 million people under excessive heat warnings and 16 million more under heat advisories.

Record-breaking heat

Forecasters say that the mercury in Houston will reach 98 degrees, which could surpass Space City’s 2020 record of 97 degrees. People residing in and around Sacramento, California, will be cranking up their car air conditioners as temperatures are expected to reach 100 degrees. Other record-breaking highs include Waco, Texas, at 99 degrees, Las Vegas at 108 degrees, and Phoenix at 111 degrees.

These cities could face temperatures even hotter than the record-breaking highs. For instance, the thermometer is expected to stay between 113 and 114 degrees in Phoenix over the weekend. The heat in Las Vegas is expected to go as high as 110, with no good news in sight for Waco, where temperatures will range between 103 and 106 degrees during the period.

Preventive measures needed

The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department closed a pair of popular hiking trails due to excessive heat. But even in areas where high heat is normal, too many people do not follow common safety precautions, such as bringing water with them when they go outside for even short periods of time, Las Vegas fire spokesman Tim Szymanski said. 

“That water can be precious and lifesaving. It’s amazing how many people go out for a hike here (in extreme heat), it’s ridiculous. They don’t bring water with them, and those end up being life-and-death situations. They’ll be like, ‘I’ll just go down the trail for a half-mile’ and they’re overwhelmed in less than an hour,” he stated.

Millions of people residing in the region will also be affected by extreme storms. Deadly gusts of wind are expected to lash at the Texas Panhandle before moving into eastern Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and northwest Arkansas later in the evening. Oklahoma City, Norman, Tulsa, Wichita, and Amarillo are the five most populous cities in that region. Forecasters predict that storms and high winds will move east, reaching the Ozarks and the Gulf Coast. The storm system is expected to touch cities such as Little Rock, Arkansas; Shreveport, Louisiana; Mobile, Alabama; and New Orleans.

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