Meteorologists have warned that residents in California could experience “record-breaking” temperatures as high as 46C (115F) in Central Valley and 49C (120F) in hotter areas like Palm Springs.
The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for parts of Southwest California from Thursday into the beginning of next week.
“Stay hydrated and avoid outdoor activity during the day if you can. Don’t leave any person or pet in a parked car,” said the Los Angeles branch of the National Weather Services on Twitter.
Portions of northern California, such as Sacramento, were also under an excessive heat warning.
A majority of California was already facing extreme drought and dry conditions after it experienced two extreme heat waves in the month of June – making the incoming high temperatures the third heatwave for the state this summer season.
Climate experts have credited the ongoing climate crisis as a reason behind the extreme heat being witnessed in California and other areas of the US in recent weeks.
“The drought is leading to extremely low soil moisture, which is making it easier for these high pressure systems to generate extreme heat waves because more of the sun’s energy is going into heating the atmosphere rather than evaporating nonexistent water in the soil,” Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA, told NPR, “That’s sort of the vicious cycle of drought and extreme heat in a warming climate.”
California was not the only area impacted about incoming dangerous temperatures. The Four Corner region – the southwestern corner of Colorado, southeastern corner of Utah, northeastern corner of Arizona, and northwestern corner of New Mexico – are also expected to experience extreme heat into the weekend.
Then another heat system will pass through west central Canada on Saturday.
The climate crisis has made above-average temperatures the new normal, and experts have warned residents that extreme heat will likely be more prevalent for future summer seasons.
Last week, the Pacific Northwest was hit by an extreme heatwave in areas like Portland and Seattle – locations where residents typically don’t own central air conditioning. The high temperatures caused hundreds of deaths across Oregon, Washington, and portions of Canada – with hospitals experiencing an influx of patients needing attention due to heat-related illnesses.
Climate experts warned that for California, the current drought would likely further exacerbate weather conditions in the coming weeks – with concerns of a potentially damaging upcoming wildfire season.
Officials were encouraging residents in portions of California to pre-cool their homes ahead of the high temperatures in an effort to avoid any possible power outages.