- Over 50 million people in eight states were under heat warnings and watches on Tuesday.
- The National Weather Service urged people to remain hydrated and to stay indoors.
- Temperatures in many states are forecast to remain above the 90s over the weekend.
A 100-year record broken in Montana. It is the hottest temperature in a Utah city in 147 years. Dozens of daily papers were smashed throughout many states. And the heatwave in the West isn’t letting up. More than 50 million Americans in eight states were under heat warnings and watches Tuesday as the National Weather Service urged people to remain hydrated and stay indoors.
Dozens of daily records were smashed Monday and Tuesday stretching from California’s central and inland valleys to as far north as Montana and Wyoming. According to the weather service, Salt Lake City also set another heat record for the second day in a row, experiencing its hottest day of the year and the hottest temperature for June 147 years after hitting 106 degrees. Palm Springs, California, hit 117 degrees, appearing to break the record high temperature for June 15 set in 1961.
“High temperatures in portions of Riverside County are nothing new, but those being predicted during the week can be very unsafe, particularly for those who are very young, very old, and those with underlying health conditions,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, the county’s public health officer. “You do not want to ignore the potential for harm.”
A daily record of 104 degrees was set in Billings, Montana, Tuesday after the clip was broken Monday; a daily temperature record in 1919 was shattered by 12 degrees in Miles City, Montana. And in Denver Tuesday, temperatures soared to 101 degrees, breaking the old record for June 15, which was 97 degrees in 1952 and in 1993.
“There are still several more hours for it to get even warmer,” the weather service said on Twitter. “Given the heat, dry conditions, and gusty winds, fire danger is also a concern throughout much of the West, with Critical Risks of fire weather in place this evening across portions of the central Great Basin and Northern Rockies,” the weather service also said in an advisory.
Rising temperatures were worsening the risk for wildfires in Montana and northern Wyoming, officials said. Strong winds with gusts up to 35 mph were expected, threatening to stir up wildfires already burning and make it hard to stamp out new blazes.
A wildfire that broke out Monday near Yellowstone National Park in Montana grew quickly overnight and burned more than 3 square miles by Tuesday morning, KULR-TV reported. Homeowners in the area were told they could be asked to evacuate if conditions worsened. Meanwhile, California and Texas power grid companies warned that plants are offline more than usual because of the heat and asked residents to conserve energy to avoid rolling blackouts.
And there’ll be little relief going into the weekend for southwestern states. Temperatures in many states are forecast to remain above the 90s, forecasters said. In Las Vegas, meteorologist Stan Czyzyk told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the high Tuesday may exceed the 1940 record of 116 for the day, but that records were more likely to fall later in the week.
The National Weather Service said that since records began in 1937, the high has been at or above 113 in Las Vegas five days in a row only five times. And Tuesday’s temperature in Phoenix tied a record set in 1974 for 115 degrees. The Arizona city is set to hit that high for the rest of the week, fueling wildfires in the state. “It is kind of early to see temperatures this high, that’s for sure,” said Marvin Percha, senior forecaster at the weather service’s Phoenix office.
Contributing: Amanda Ulrich, Palm Springs Desert Sun; The Associated Press