Brutal heatwave to cook US west as Fourth of July wildfire risks loom


A brutal and long-lasting heatwave is threatening to wreak havoc across the US west this week, as sweltering conditions, power shutoffs and a severe uptick in wildfire risks coincide with Fourth of July celebrations.

Nearly 90 million people were under heat alerts from the National Weather Service on Tuesday morning, as swaths of the south-central and western US were scorched. As pressure builds over the west through the week, the dangerous weather event is expected to stretch for days with little reprieve.

Starting Wednesday, parts of California will be subject to “extreme” levels of heat risk – reaching the highest level on the National Weather Service’s index – that will last until Sunday or longer. In some areas of the state, life-threatening triple-digit temperatures could linger for longer than a week.

“This is going to be a severe, prolonged, potentially record-breaking heatwave that may have large impacts for much of California,” said climate scientist Dr Daniel Swain during a broadcast discussion of the heat event on Monday. The long duration will only add to the potential impacts and intensity, especially because little relief can be expected even after the sun sets. “It just isn’t going to cool off – even at night,” he said.



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