California set to swelter in heatwave temperature of 53C
Updated 37 minutes ago
A potentially deadly heatwave is expected to bear down on the United States’ south-west, with temperatures in California’s Death Valley forecast to hit 53 degrees Celsius.
The severe heat will be only slightly lower than the hottest temperature ever recorded on earth – 57 degrees in the same location 100 years ago.
Similar temperatures are predicted in the states of Arizona and Nevada.
Weather forecasters say the mercury could reach 40 to 50 degrees Celsius in the deserts in southern Arizona.
Cities in the region are opening cooling centres and officials fear the heat could delay air travel.
The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning that is current for the entire weekend.
“Exceedingly high temperatures can cause heat-related illness, including death,” it said.
The agency added that residents without air-conditioning are most vulnerable.
It said the city of Phoenix is expected to reach 48 degrees Celsius, further increasing the risk of heat stroke and exhaustion.
‘Too hot to touch’
Arizona resident Michael Fedo says the heat feels like an invisible wall that has forced his family to install black-out shades on every window in their house.
“It’s almost the same thing which you get when you have your oven pre-heated and you open the oven door and you get that wash of heat over you – times 100,” he said.
“As soon as that door opens it’s there, it’s always there, it’s just permeating to the core of your being.”
Another Arizona resident, Ray Huffer, says the heat is making some things too hot to touch.
“The metal that you touch on the door to get in your house, you need to have a cloth on it, you have to have a towel with you to touch the steering wheel,” he said.
“An extended heatwave like this, five, six, seven days, the workers can’t go roofing, asphalt doesn’t harden, all kinds of economic things have to literally stop.”