Historic excessive heat warning issued in Colorado amid record-smashing temps across Western US

·3 min read

A historic heat wave is gripping Colorado this week amid stifling Western temperatures affecting about 50 million people across the region.

The scorcher prompted the National Weather Service to issue its first-ever excessive heat warning for the area around Grand Junction, about 250 miles west of Denver. The warning lasts from Monday to Friday night.

Grand Junction is due to shatter its 2005 record of 106 degrees with highs of 110 during the day, the weather forecaster said.

Farther east, in Denver, temperatures aren't much better: they are forecast to hitnear the 100s until Thursday, according to the Denver Post. Even though the city has experienced at least 89 occurrences of triple-digit heat since 1872, said ABC-7, the heat is still notable for this time of year.

And north of Denver, the weather service forecast calls for highs in Fort Collins of 98 degrees on Monday, 100 on Tuesday and 99 on Wednesday and Thursday before returning to near-normal temperatures for June.

All temperatures are still shy of the hottest temperature ever recorded in Colorado, 115 degrees June 28, 2019, said ABC-7.

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The extreme heat conditions in the state are part of a trend smacking the West this week. Areas as far west as Montana are forecast to reach triple-digit heat, and Palm Springs, California, and Phoenix will have temperatures hit as high as 120.

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Las Vegas has the potential to break the all-time high for the desert city, one set in 2017 at 117 degrees. Death Valley, California, is forecast to reach 127 degrees, just two degrees from the highest temperature ever recorded in the U.S. in June, the National Weather Service reported.

The weather service has declared an excessive heat warning for these parts of Arizona, Nevada and California through the weekend.

The heat wave is thanks to a strengthening ridge of high pressure traversing the region and drying out the atmosphere. A majority of the West is under extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and the state of California, as well as parts of Oregon and Utah, are under drought state of emergencies.

Extreme heat also increases the potential for heat-related illnesses, the National Weather Service Colorado said, particularly for: "those working or participating in outdoor activities." The weather service recommends drinking plenty of fluids, scheduling strenuous activities for the morning, staying in an air-conditioned room and out of the sun.

Here are safety tips to keep your toddlers, pets and yourself during the heat wave:

  • It is never safe to leave a toddler, disabled person or pet locked in a parked vehicle.

  • If you have a toddler in your household, lock your cars, even in your own driveway. Kids play in cars or wander outside and get into a car and can die in 10 minutes.

  • Make sure to give pets plenty of fresh, clean water and a shady place to get out of the sun.

  • Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Hydrate and cool them as quickly as possible.

Contributing: Miles Blumhardt, Fort Collins Coloradoan

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Colorado weather: Heat wave prompts first 'excessive heat warning'

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