50 million Americans under excessive heat warnings

Heat warning sign in Death Valley National Park, California
Heat warning sign in Death Valley National Park, California David McNew/Getty Images

A heat wave is hitting the western United States, bringing scorching temperatures to California, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado over the next several days.

The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings for multiple states, affecting 50 million people and regions already experiencing droughts. For the first time ever, the National Weather Service put out an excessive heat warning for Grand Junction, Colorado, where it is expected to reach 110 degrees this week, breaking the 2005 record of 106 degrees.

Las Vegas' hottest recorded temperature was 117 degrees on June 20, 2017, and that could potentially be shattered this week. It is rare for it to be this hot in Las Vegas so early in June, and the heat wave is also lasting longer than normal — typically they only go on for about two days, but this heat wave will likely last for at least four days. The highest temperature ever recorded in Nevada was 125 degrees in Laughlin, and experts say this could be tied or broken.

In many parts of Southern California, over the next few days it will be 10 to 20 degrees hotter than normal for this time of year, which is "unusual and much above average," meteorologist Alex Tardy said. To stay as cool as possible, people should remain in air-conditioned rooms, and if they have to be outside, need to stick to the shade. Children and pets must not be left in cars, where temperatures can rise quickly, leading to death in just minutes. It's also important to drink lots of fluids and wear light and loose-fitting clothing.

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