Killer heat wave threatens US West

Heat Wave May Threaten World’s Hottest Temp. Record
Published: June 26th, 2013 , Last Updated: June 27th, 2013
By Andrew Freedman

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect new forecast information on Friday, June 28.

A brutal and potentially historic heat wave is in store for the West as parts of Nevada, Arizona and California may get dangerously hot temperatures starting Thursday and lasting through next week. In fact, by the end of the heat wave, we may see a record tied or broken for the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth.

The furnace-like heat is coming courtesy of a “stuck” weather pattern that is setting up across the U.S. and Canada. Starting this weekend, the jet stream — a fast-moving river of air at airliner altitudes that is responsible for steering weather systems — will form the shape of a massive, slithering snake with what meteorologists refer to as a deep “ridge” across the Western states, and an equally deep trough seting up across the Central and Eastern states.

All-time records are likely to be threatened in normally hot places — including Death Valley, Calif., which holds the record for the highest reliably recorded air temperature on Earth at 134°F. That mark was set on July 10, 1913, and with forecast highs between 125°F to 130°F this weekend, that record could be threatened. The last time Death Valley recorded a temperature at or above 130°F was in 1913.

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