Southwest punished by record heat exceeding 120 degrees

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Record Setting Heat Usher In The First Official Day Of Summer

As the U.S. marks the first official day of summer and the longest day of the year, the American Southwest is being punished by a near-unprecedented heatwave.

Temperatures could reach 121 degrees Fahrenheit Monday. Four people died as a result of the heat over the weekend. On Sunday, it was 115 degrees in Tucson, Arizona, and 118 degrees in the valley city of Phoenix, the state's largest city and state capital.

The Phoenix temperature beat the previous record of 115 degrees for this point in the year set 50 years ago, according to the National Weather Service.

"When a ridge of high pressure like this one forms in the middle to late June, it can deliver some of the hottest weather possible to the Desert Southwest," AccuWeather Western U.S. Expert Ken Clark said.

"The peak of the heat in many areas will be on Monday, but Tuesday will be no slouch either in the high heat department," Clark said.

See photos of the Southwest under scorching temperatures

Southwest's scorching heat wave
See Gallery
Southwest's scorching heat wave
Hotel guests cool off at the pool at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley, Ariz., on Sunday, June 19, 2016. States in the Southwest are in the midst of a summer heat wave as a high pressure ridge bakes Arizona, California and Nevada with extreme, triple-digit temperatures. (AP Photo/Anna Johnson)
A home builder works at sunrise, Monday, June 20, 2016, in Gilbert, Ariz in an effort to beat the rising temperatures. The National Weather Service is expecting another day of triple-digit temperatures in Phoenix and across much of the Southwest. The mercury reached 118 on Sunday, breaking the record of 115 set nearly 50 years ago. The heat played a role in the deaths of mountain biker in Phoenix and a hiker in Pinal County over the weekend. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Bo, an Australian Shepherd dog belonging to Kim Leeds, walks on cement in Phoenix wearing special booties made for dogs on Sunday, June 19, 2016. According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature in Phoenix has already surpassed the previous record for June 19 set in 1968 of 115 degrees. (Kim Leeds via AP)
An L.A. Dodger fan braves the heat as he fans his son during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers during Father's Day, at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, June 19, 2016. Burbank and Glendale, just north of downtown Los Angeles, soared past 100 degrees by midday, the National Weather Service said. Burbank saw a record 105 degrees. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
This Tuesday, June 14, 2016 photo Leo Block, left, Matari Phason, center, and Brian Juarez, right, push part of a shipment of 20,000 water bottles donated by Yellow Cab of Phoenix to Central Arizona Shelter Services, Arizona's largest homeless shelter, to help prepare for the summer heat in Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ryan Van Velzer)
This Tuesday, June 14, 2016 photo Mike Mcfarland, a volunteer at Redeemed Outreach Center, passes out free water bottles and bread to people who walk by in downtown Phoenix, Ariz. The center of is one of 50 water cooling stations setup up around Maricopa County to help people stay cool in the summer heat. (AP Photo/Ryan Van Velzer)

The forecast had been for temperatures to reach as high as 120 in Phoenix over the weekend, which did not officially occur. But Yuma, Arizona, in the southwestern portion of the Grand Canyon State, saw temperatures at that level. Weather service meteorologist Andrew Deemer said he had "no doubt there are places in the Valley (near Phoenix) that hit 120 or so."

Two of those who died over the weekend from heat-related causes were hiking on trails near the two cities.

United Flight 6186 flying from Houston to Phoenix Sunday was rerouted because of heat-related concerns.

Wildfires are also being fueled by high temperatures. A Santa Barbara, Calif., blaze that began last week has continued Monday, and a new wildfire has begun 200 miles to the south in Potrero, Calif., near the Mexican border.

Temperatures in Los Angeles exceeded 100 degrees and Burbank, Calif. temperatures reached 105 degrees. A wildfire occurred in a Los Angeles neighborhood, as well. The San Fernando Valley saw temperatures close to 110 degrees, and the inland desert region of Palm Springs hit 115 degrees.

Las Vegas is forecasted to hit 113 degrees Monday.

The highest forecast is for Death Valley, Calif., traditionally considered the hottest spot in the United States. Those in that region could experience temperatures as high as 125 degrees, according to AccuWeather. Death Valley is home to the hottest temperature ever recorded in the U.S., 134 degrees on July 10, 1913.

Read Full Story

From Our Partners