The western United States was hit with record heat on Saturday as many regions watched temperatures soar into the triple-digits.
Dozens of people were hospitalized for heat-related issues, and at least one death has been reported in Las Vegas, Nevada. That death involved a man in his 80s who was found dead in his home without air-conditioning.
Rising temperatures forced officials to issue heat-advisory warnings in California, Nevada, Texas, and the southern parts of Arizona.
According to National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Lericos, the heat is caused by a large high-pressure system trapping hot air across the area.
Lericos tells Reuters:
“It involves pretty much the entire West Coast at this point,” Lericos said, adding that the stifling conditions, which began in some areas on Thursday afternoon, would likely continue through the weekend and linger into next week.”
The high temperatures extended as far east as Corpus Christi, Texas where temps reached 107 Fahrenheit (42 Celsius). Residents in Salt Lake City, Utah experienced temperatures of 105F (41C). The high temperature in Salt Lake City set a new high for the time of month.
Conditions worsened in Los Angeles County where many residents were treated for dehydration, exhaustion, and heat stroke.
In Las Vegas an outdoor concert led to 34 people being taken to the hospital because of heat related illness. A total of 170 concert attendees also experienced nausea and fatigue.
Temperatures were so bad in the Mojave Desert that Las Vegas officials canceled the Devil Marathon. The marathon is an event which was specifically setup to challenge runners to fight back against “high heat.”
In Phoenix, temperatures were so bad that officials at the Phoenix Zoo fed animals frozen foods. Animals at the zoo lounged on artificial rocks and concrete slabs that were cooled by artificial systems.
Officials in all Western states are warning residents to drink plenty of fluids and avoid outdoor areas whenever possible. Residents without air conditioning are asked to find a safe shelter until temperatures fall.