140 million Americans under heat alerts, Death Valley reaches 128 Fahrenheit 

The Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to a brush fire in Newhall that damaged structures on Saturday. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
The Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to a brush fire in Newhall that damaged structures on Saturday. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

By Jack Phillips 
Contributing Writer 

Some 140 million Americans were under some form of federal heat warning on Monday as a multi-day-long heat wave inundated much of the United States, particularly the West Coast. 

A daily tracker provided by the National Weather Service on Monday showed excessive heat warnings, heat advisories, and excessive heat watches across California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington state, Arizona, Utah, and Idaho. 

Alerts were also issued in several states across the southern U.S. as well as in mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. 

On Sunday, an excessive heat warning was in effect for about 36 million people, or about 10% of the U.S. population, NWS meteorologist Bryan Jackson said. Dozens of locales in the West and Pacific Northwest tied or broke previous heat records. 

Many areas in Northern California surpassed 110 degrees Fahrenheit, with the city of Redding at a record 119 degrees. Phoenix set a new daily record on Sunday for the warmest low temperature. It never got below 92 degrees. 

The heat wave across the region will continue until later this week, the NWS said in a Monday bulletin. 

“Widespread high- and low-temperature records will likely be tied or broken over the next couple of days as a result of this unusual heat,” the bulletin continued, adding that the “multi-day length and record warm overnight temperatures will continue to cause heat stress in people without adequate cooling and hydration.” 

The heat wave is predicted to move from California and Oregon north to Washington state and over the Great Basin states such as Nevada, Arizona and Utah over the coming days, according to the NWS. 

A high temperature of 128 Fahrenheit was recorded on Saturday and Sunday at Death Valley National Park in eastern California. A visitor died on Saturday from heat exposure and another person was hospitalized, officials said. 

“Due to the high temperatures, emergency medical flight helicopters were unable to respond, as they cannot generally fly safely over 120 degrees,” a Death Valley National Park statement said. 

“Heat illness and injury are cumulative and can build over the course of a day or days,” park rangers added in the statement. 

“Besides not being able to cool down while riding due to high ambient air temperatures, experiencing Death Valley by motorcycle when it is this hot is further challenged by the necessary heavy safety gear worn to reduce injuries during an accident.” 

Along the East Coast, temperatures above 100 degrees with high humidity were widespread, although no excessive heat advisories were implemented Sunday or Monday. 

“Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors,” said a weather service advisory for Paulding County, Georgia. 

“Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.” 

California Fires 

In California, fire crews worked over the weekend in sweltering conditions to battle multiple wildfires across the state. 

In Santa Barbara County, north of Los Angeles, the Lake Fire burned more than 20,000 acres after it broke out on Friday, Cal Fire officials say. As of Monday, the blaze had only 8% containment and some rural areas were under a mandatory evacuation order. 

Meanwhile, in northeastern California, a wildfire that broke out on Sunday in Modoc County has burned some 4,000 acres with zero percent containment, Cal Fire said. 

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