A scorching heat wave has engulfed much of the Southwest, sending temperatures in the drought-stricken region to dangerous new highs and raising serious concerns about the potential for wildfires
The National Weather Service has issued a heat-related alert to approximately 50 million people
across the Western United States
, predicting record-breaking temperatures this week almost everywhere west of the Rocky Mountains.
Temperatures in the Grand Junction area could reach 110 degrees, easily breaking the region's previous record high of 106 set in 2005, according to the National Weather Service, which issued an excessive heat warning for western Colorado on Tuesday.
Temperatures in Las Vegas
are expected to be near or exceed 117 degrees Fahrenheit from Wednesday to Saturday, matching a record high set in 2017. Nevada
's all-time high of 125 degrees Fahrenheit, set in 1994, is also in jeopardy
, as is Arizona
's 1994 record of 128, according to the National Weather Service.
Numerous all-time records are on the line this week. The state of Nevada's all-time record is 125F set in Laughlin, and the state of Arizona's all-time record is 128F set in Lake Havasu City. These records have the potential to tie or break. How will YOU prepare?#NvWx #AzWx pic.twitter.com/dE1X1tKtV3
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the extremely hot and dry weather will exacerbate the already severe drought conditions that have gripped much of the West.
, the nation's largest reservoir
and a vital source of water
and power for Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California
, is at its lowest level in history
and will most likely continue to fall until November, when agricultural outflows stop.
“This landscape screams problems to me,” Pat Mulroy, former head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said in a CBS News
segment on the Colorado River
“We’re at a tipping point,” Mulroy later added, “and it’s an existential issue for Arizona, California, and Nevada, it’s that simple.”