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Heat Wave Shatters Records Across America - The Worst Is Yet to Come for the Heartland

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Roughly 130 million people are under threat Saturday and into next week from a long-running heat wave that has already broken records with dangerously high temperatures — and is expected to shatter more from East Coast to West Coast, forecasters said.

Oppressive heat and humidity could team up to spike temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of the Pacific Northwest, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, said Jacob Asherman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

In Oregon, records could be broken in cities including Eugene, Portland and Salem, Asherman said. Dozens of other records throughout the U.S. could fall, Asherman said, causing millions to seek relief from the blanket of heat in cooling centers from Bullhead City, Arizona, to Norfolk, Virginia.

“Certainly a pretty anomalous event that we’re expecting here, which looks like it will continue through at least midweek,” Asherman said.

At the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon, music fans dealt with heat Friday by drinking cold water, seeking refuge in the shade or freshening up under water misters.

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Angela Quiroz, 31, kept her scarf and hat wet and applied sunscreen at she protected herself from the heat at the music festival.

“Definitely a difference between the shade and the sun,” Quiroz said. “But when you’re in the sun, it feels like you’re cooking.”

On Friday, a new heat record for the day was set in California’s Death Valley — one of the hottest places on Earth. The previous high was shattered by 5 degrees F, with the mercury climbing to 127 degrees F. The old mark of 122 degrees F was last tied in 2013.

Have you felt this heat wave in your area?

More extreme highs are in the near forecast, including 129 degrees F for Sunday at Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park, and then around 130 degrees F through Wednesday. The hottest temperature ever officially recorded on Earth was 134 degrees F in Death Valley in July 1913, though some experts dispute that measurement and say the real record was 130 degrees F recorded there in July 2021.

There was also a record high for the date of 118 degrees F in Phoenix, where highs of 115 degrees F or hotter were forecast through Wednesday. In Needles, California, where the National Weather Service has records dating to 1888, the high of 122 degrees F edged the old mark of 121 degrees F set in 2007. It was 124 degrees F in Palm Springs, California.

The worst is yet to come across much of the West, with triple-digit temperatures likely — between 15 and 30 degrees F higher than average into next week, the National Weather Service said.

The Eastern U.S. was also bracing for more hot temperatures. Baltimore and others parts of Maryland were under an excessive heat warning, as heat index values could climb to 110 degrees F, forecasters said.

“Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors,” a National Weather Service advisory for the Baltimore area said. “Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.”

Heat-related deaths are starting to mount

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In Arizona’s Maricopa County, which encompasses Phoenix, there have been at least 13 confirmed heat-related deaths this year, along with more than 160 other suspected heat deaths, which are still under investigation, according to the county’s most recent report.

That does not include the death of a 10-year-old boy earlier this week in Phoenix who suffered a “heat-related medical event” while hiking with family at South Mountain Park and Preserve, according to police.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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