By Anita Snow.
PHOENIX (AP) — Much of the American West has been blasted with sweltering heat this week as a high pressure dome combines with the worst drought in modern history to launch temperatures into the triple digits, toppling records even before the official start of summer.
Record daily highs were seen this week in parts of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and Utah. Phoenix, which is baking in some of the U.S. West’s hottest weather, hit a record-breaking 118 degrees (48 Celsius) Thursday and was expected to reach 116 degrees (46 Celsius) Friday and Saturday.
“Very dangerous record breaking heat should continue today across the deserts with well above normal highs,” the National Weather Service’s Phoenix staff wrote on Facebook. “A very good day to stay indoors.”
WHY IS THE AMERICAN WEST SO HOT THIS WEEK?
The heat comes from a high pressure system over the West, a buckle in the jet stream winds that move across the U.S. and vast swaths of soil sucked dry by a historic drought, said Marvin Percha, a senior meteorologist for the agency in Phoenix.
He and other scientists say the heat wave is unusual because it arrived earlier and is staying longer than in most years.
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