Death Valley braces for 124-degree temperatures as heat wave broils California

A relentless heatwave will suffocate Southern California over Labor Day weekend and temperatures could reach 124 degrees in Death Valley.

It’s a stark contrast to early August, when Death Valley National Park saw 1.46 inches of rain in a single day of monsoon rain. Flooding washed away several streets and forced the park to close.

Death Valley in the Mojave Desert is one of the hottest places on earth, right next to the Sahara Desert in North Africa. On July 10, 1913, temperatures at Furnace Creek reached 134 degrees, according to the National Park Service. In the same year, the park recorded its lowest temperature of 15 degrees.

The wild swings in weather are not uncommon for Death Valley. Just before summer ends this year, temperatures will soar to 119 degrees on Wednesday, 122 on Thursday, and 124 on Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. If a dome of high atmospheric pressure settles over the southwest, temperatures will be eight to 12 degrees above normal, and some daily and monthly temperature records could be broken or set in Death Valley, according to forecasters.

While high temperatures are not uncommon at this time of year, this week’s desert heatwave will continue for the next few days, with overnight lows falling only in the low 90s.

“This is not a normal heat wave,” said Trevor Boucher, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Las Vegas.

Forecasts assume a dry, hot week.

“We don’t have much moisture in Death Valley for the next few days,” Boucher said. With no cloud cover, the area is baked with intense, direct heat.

He warns people to be aware of how long a heatwave lasts and how even less extreme temperatures can be dangerous.

“If you have a hot weather day, that’s notable, but it doesn’t translate into impact,” Boucher said. “But if you have high temperatures or even low temperatures four or five days in a row, it takes a toll on people who are out late at night to drink or exercise after the sun goes down.”

While some people may find relief with indoor air conditioning, others may not be able to afford the luxury or may simply be homeless, Boucher said.

“You have to take into account all these other people, like those who live in RVs and those who can’t escape the heat,” Boucher said.

The California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s power grid, has already warned utilities and consumers that flex alerts are likely this week. This means consumers will be asked to limit their energy use, such as air conditioners and other heavy appliances, between 4pm and 9pm when the electricity grid is at its busiest.

Otherwise, network operators could be forced to impose emergency measures such as power outages. Death Valley braces for 124-degree temperatures as heat wave broils California

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