Record heat wave: 40 million Americans looking at dangerous temperatures this week

National News

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Some areas in the western United States are looking at temperatures 15-to-20 degrees above average for this time of year over the next several days, complicating drought and energy shortages.

More than 40 million people are in the grip of a historic heatwave, bringing misery and triple-digit heat.

Record highs were forecast today for several major cities, including Denver, which hit 101, a daily record, Salt Lake City at 105, a record for the month, and Phoenix a scorching 117. Las Vegas is forecast to reach 113 degrees or higher today through Saturday.

In Texas, power officials alarmed over high electricity demand and strain on its power grid are urging residents to reduce electricity use through Friday.

The unrelenting heat across the west brings a new concern. Burn centers across the west could see an increase in patients with serious burns from touching hot surfaces. Last summer at the Arizona burn center in Phoenix 104 people suffered serious burn injuries due to contact with scorching surfaces like car door handles and asphalt.

Dozens of cities — as far off towards the east as Nebraska as far off towards the Southwest as southern areas of California — could report record temperatures Wednesday up to about 100. Some will exceed 120 by Thursday, as is high pressure we’ll be focused right over the Southwest.

Relief won’t come until next Tuesday. High pressure moves out, low pressure moves in off the Pacific that’s going to bring in some cooler air off the Pacific Ocean.

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