Death Valley Reaches 130C as Heat Wave Sweeps West


FURNACE CREEK, California — For Gary Bryant, the ten-mile walk from his modular home to the air-conditioned restaurant where he worked Saturday was “pretty enough” time outside.

Mr. Bryant, 64, knows the risks of summer temperatures in Death Valley. He once collapsed under a palm tree from heat exhaustion and had to crawl to a hose spout to drench himself with water.

Mr. Bryant has lived and worked in Death Valley for 30 years, happy to balance the wild summer heat with towering mountain views, but even he admits that the high temperatures of recent years have tested their limits. The temperature rose to 130 degrees on Friday and approached that again on Saturday. It was predicted to hit 130 again on Sunday.

“The first 20 summers were a breeze,” he said. “The last 10 were a little harder.”

The blistering weekend heat, one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded on Earth, matched a similar level in August 2020. It could break the record if these readings are confirmed, as there was an earlier record of 134 degrees in 1913 controversial by scientists.

Much of the West is facing record-breaking temperatures in the coming days, with more than 31 million people in regions under extreme heat warnings or heat warnings. This is the third heatwave to swept the region this summer.

extreme temperatures roasted Pacific Northwest, late June Nearly 200 deaths in Oregon and Washington State while people struggle to stay cool in poorly ventilated homes, on the street, in fields and warehouses.

The same “heat dome” effect enveloping the Northwest, where hot, dry ground traps heat and accelerates rising temperatures, landed in California and parts of the Southwest this weekend.

Meteorologist Sarah Rogowski of the National Weather Service said daytime temperatures of between 100 and 120 degrees Celsius were hitting parts of California. the most dangerousTemperatures will remain high into the night, between 15 and 25 degrees above average.

“When you start combining these high temperatures during the night with the high temperatures during the day, it really starts to have an impact,” said Ms. Rogowski. “People can’t cool off; It’s much harder to get rid of.”

He said forecasters are also watching for upcoming thunderstorms that could pose a risk of lightning strikes and fires. Already on Friday, lightning sparked a fast-moving fire north of Lake Tahoe, causing evacuations, road closures and partial closure of Plumas National Forest in California and Nevada.

The fire doubled on Saturday as firefighters tried to contain the blaze. Evacuation orders were also issued in southern Oregon in response to fires spreading rapidly there.

Record-breaking temperatures in the Pacific Northwest last week impossible without climate change, according to a team of climate researchers. Heatwaves could be hotter and more deadly than in past centuries, scientists said, as climate change has raised average temperatures by an average of two degrees Fahrenheit since 1900.

Extreme heat warnings blanket Most of California, with parts of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, and Idaho.

California faces the most extreme and widespread high temperatures. The California Independent System Operator, the agency that operates the state’s power grid, filed a plea on Thursday for consumers to cut off their electricity use to help prevent blackouts. Governor Gavin Newsom has asked residents to reduce their water consumption by 15 percent while expanding a regional drought emergency to cover all but eight of the state’s 58 counties.

The city of Merced hit 111 degrees on Saturday, setting a record of 108 sets in 1961. Records could be broken this weekend in Fresno, Madera, Hanford and Bakersfield.

Cities and towns in the state’s Central Valley activated cooling centers and temporary housing on Friday.

The city of Sacramento opened three refrigeration centers and provided motel vouchers to families with young children and the elderly without regular housing.

Daniel Bowers, the city’s director of emergency management, said this is the third time the city has activated its cooling centers. Last summer, Sacramento only activated its cooling centers three times over the entire season—the third time wasn’t until September.

This year, the city started its heat response early when a heatwave hit much of Northern California over Memorial Day weekend.

“It was kind of an eye-opener for how summer is going to go,” said Mr Bowers. He said that with its fair share of practice in recent years, the city is well prepared for weekend temperatures. But high nighttime temperatures pose special risks for homeless people, he said.

Further down the valley in Modesto, with a high of 108 degrees on Saturday, the Salvation Army said it has seen an increase in people seeking asylum.

“Seeing individuals we wouldn’t normally see — people who are normally in their tents, sleeping outside,” said shelter director Virginia Carney.

Terri Castle, who has stayed at the Modesto shelter for the past month, said she had spent previous summers living on the street and worried about those who didn’t have a place to cool off this weekend.

“When you’re homeless, you’re already on the air 24/7,” Miss Castle said. “And when the sun hits you it’s hard to find a place for shade. You can’t find enough water.” During the few weeks she spent in the shelter, she said she noticed an increase in people seeking relief from the heat.

A man with a heat-related illness was taken from the shelter by ambulance on Thursday. Mrs. Castle, a woman who came looking for water and food, said, “She sat outside and looked so hot, as if she had no energy.”

In Death Valley, the highest recorded temperature of 134 degrees in 1913 was considered the highest temperature ever recorded on the planet. But a 2016 analysis by Christopher Burt, a weather expert, found that the recording was inconsistent with other regional observations, prompting debate over whether the recording is “possible from a meteorological perspective.”

In any case, the sweltering temperatures of recent times have set their own forms of tourism in motion. As the number approaches 130, people are starting to line up to take pictures next to the digital thermometer outside the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.

Even on Saturday, with morning temperatures approaching 110 degrees, early morning park visitors could be found playing golf, swimming and hiking.

Ashley Dehetre, 22, and Katelyn Price, 21, descended into Badwater Basin at around 9 a.m., with cooling towels around their necks and three liters of water on their backs. Their 33-hour drive from Detroit and triple-digit temperatures didn’t quite affect their spirits, even after an anxious phone call from Ms. Price’s mother revealed the temperature was 66 degrees home.

Ms. Dehetre said, “This view is wonderful in itself, it’s worth it.” “Much better than Michigan.”

Passing by them on the salt flats was Tyler Lowey, who drove 25 miles overnight from Los Angeles to celebrate his 25th birthday across the basin, the lowest point in North America. The challenge was part of a year of adventures he embarked on, including cycling around the country from Los Angeles to Miami next month. To get ready, he filled his car with plenty of water, amino acid powders, and fresh coconut, which he discovered in his own time as a personal chef to be best at fighting heat-related fatigue.

Still, after only one mile out and one mile back, he was drenched in sweat and ready to take a break in his car and cool off.

“The heat sucks,” he said. “But I want to pop it a little because the longer I wait, the hotter it will be.”

At dawn, above Zabriskie Point, 42-year-old Anshuman Bapna was a little more cautious. As the founder of a climate change education platform, he felt compelled to deflect his family’s planned trip through Death Valley from Palo Alto, California to Zion National Park to experience the extreme conditions.

“Heatwaves like this are going to become even more common,” he said. “There is a little ‘see what you can do’ before the world changes.”


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