Farmers abandon crops, Utah residents asked to pray for rain amid record hot weather in parts of US

·2 min read
Lake Mead is seen in the distance behind a dead creosote bush in an area of dry, cracked earth that used to be underwater (Getty Images)
Lake Mead is seen in the distance behind a dead creosote bush in an area of dry, cracked earth that used to be underwater (Getty Images)

Parts of the US face record high temperatures as a wave of heat sweeps the country’s southwest.

The National Weather Service (NWS) warned residents of Salt Lake City, Utah, they should prepare to see the all-time highest June temperature matched on Tuesday, with the mercury set to hit a sweltering 105F (40.6C).

The city last saw daily temperatures that high in 1974, the NWS said.

The governmental Weather Prediction Centre’s heat map showed conditions were expected to become even more extreme for people in Arizona and California, however.

Yuma, Arizona, is likely to see temperatures of 110F (43C) or higher in the coming days, as is Blythe in California. Even coastal cities will not be spared, forecasts suggest. Los Angeles may hit 90F (32C) on Tuesday.

California ISO, which runs that state’s power grid, has warned residents they should prepare to have to conserve electricity with air conditioners set to work overtime.

Much of the American west is in the grip of drought. Last week, Lake Mead, the reservoir formed when the Hoover dam was constructed on the Nevada-Arizona border, reached its lowest ever level.

That drought has affected California, the Pacific northwest, the Great Basin spanning Nevada, Oregon and Utah, plus the southwestern states of Arizona and New Mexico and even part of the northern plains.

Farmers are abandoning crops, Nevada is banning the watering of about one-third of lawns in the Las Vegas area, and the governor of Utah has literally asked residents there to pray for rain.

Firefighters fear another devastating wildfire season this year.

Droughts are a recurring natural phenomenon, but have worsened recently following a string of very dry years for most of this century. Scientists say human-influenced climate change has made the situation worse.

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