Editor’s Note: A version of this article originally appeared in the weekly weather newsletter, the CNN Weather Brief, which is released every Monday. You can sign up here to receive them every week and during significant storms.
Phoenix is supposed to be hot, but the severity of the upcoming heat wave will bring a level of heat that will test even heat-hardy places and do so for longer durations than have ever been observed before.
The heat is hitting South Texas, South Florida and the Southwest US the hardest now and through the workweek, but by the weekend, the hottest temperatures will arrive in the Southwest, making brutally hot cities like Phoenix even hotter.
The latest heat wave is really an extension of a continuous heat wave, which has never really stopped and has been affecting the South since mid-June.
Phoenix could break the record for consecutive days above 110 degrees as a result. The city has been above 110 degrees for 10 consecutive days and could break the record of 19 days next Tuesday.
Yes, it’s summer. Yes, these places are supposed to get hot. But not this hot and for this long. The duration of the current heat wave has meteorologists and climate scientists concerned.
“Earth is screaming at us right now and people need to listen,” Chief Meteorologist and Director of Climate Matters, Bernadette Woods Placky told me. “It should be a wake-up call or an urgency to people that this is just not normal.”
Placky said we are pushing our planet to the brink with so many record-breaking days and highs higher than we’ve ever seen before, and that we are entering uncharted territory globally.
“It puts us in a whole new climate zone,” Placky explained. “It pushes our heat even higher and extends it for longer. And that plays out in a lot of different ways that dramatically affects human health.”
More than 40 million people are under heat alerts from California to Florida on Monday.
Heat advisories include places like Miami in Florida and Houston and San Antonio in Texas, where heat indices will peak this afternoon at around 110 degrees.
Roughly 30 high temperature records could be broken over the next five days and nearly 100 record high minimums could also break records.
While temperatures across the South should start to cool by a few degrees over the weekend, the heat will continue to worsen across the Southwest “with readings potentially nearing record territory for the coming weekend,” the National Weather Service office in Phoenix said.
Excessive heat warnings are in place for Las Vegas and Phoenix where the highs this week will be at or above 110 degrees and will stay hot long term.
Forty high temperature records and more than 50 record high minimum temperatures could fall over the weekend across the US.
Temperatures around Phoenix will struggle to drop below 90 degrees some nights, which can be deadly for those without air conditioning. Cooler temperatures overnight help to cool our bodies and recover from the heat. With temperatures staying hot overnight, heat stress and heat exhaustion will set in much faster.