Arizonans have endured scorching temperatures for more than two weeks and that hot streak is about to get even hotter, with a brutal heat wave starting to take shape ahead of the weekend.
Temperatures in Phoenix have reached 110 degrees Fahrenheit every single day this month. On Wednesday, the city’s high was 111 degrees, making it the third longest streak in history during which Phoenix recorded continuous temperatures of at least 110 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The longest streak, set in 1974, was 18 days.
Meteorologists expect the weekend heat will be record-breaking, reaching a staggering 119 degrees in some parts. “The Southwest often has the hottest temperatures in the country during the summer months, but this is not your typical summer heat wave,” CNN Meteorologist Taylor Ward said. “Over the coming days many locations will experience some of the top 10 temperatures they have ever recorded.
“This type of heat has to be taken seriously as heat stress can occur very quickly for those out in the elements.”
The dangerous temperatures track with the rest of the world’s soaring climate records amid a crisis that’s heating up the planet fast. Scientists have warned there’s a growing likelihood that 2023 could be the Earth’s hottest year on record.
Over the next week, nearly 70% of all Americans will see a high temperature at or above 90 degrees, while more than 55 million people will see temperatures at or above 100 degrees.
In Arizona, an excessive heat warning is in effect through much of the state, including Maricopa County, home to the state’s capital city.
And the oppressive heat there won’t just get worse – it’ll expand, reaching further west into California and Nevada with several locations in the region expected to tie or break their all-time high temperature records by the weekend, according to the Weather Prediction Center.
“Dangerous heat is coming,” the National Weather Service in Las Vegas said Tuesday. “Temperatures later this week may challenge daily and all-time records, with little-to-no overnight relief.”
Further east, in parts of the Plains, Lower Mississippi Valley and the Southeast – which have also been searing in high temperatures – the heat and humidity will make it feel warmer than 115 degrees this week, the prediction center said.
“It is imperative,” the prediction center warned, that people take action “to limit their exposure to the oppressive hot weather as it looks to stick around for the time being.”
In Arizona’s Yavapai County, authorities found a “severely dehydrated” Buddhist monk who went missing Saturday evening after not returning from a walk, according to a Facebook post from the sheriff’s office.
The monk was located the next day about 20 to 25 miles from the temple he had started his walk from and was checked by medical professionals who found he was dehydrated, the sheriff’s office said.
The state’s Department of Public Safety has urged Arizona residents to ensure they’ve stocked their cars with water, sun protection and have with them charged phones and plenty of gas, amid the dangerous heat.
CNN’s Sara Smart contributed to this report.