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Southwest heat wave threatens 40M people from California to Texas; Phoenix, Las Vegas hit record highs – USA TODAY

About 40 million people from California to Texas are sweltering amid a dangerous heat wave that threatens to match or eclipse daily high-temperature records through the weekend.

Phoenix and Las Vegas reported record daily highs on Friday, according to the National Weather Service. Arizona’s capital city  reached 113 degrees, surpassing  its previous record of 111 set in 1978. Las Vegas hit 109, breaking the previous record, set in 1996, by 1 degree. 

And, in New Mexico, Albuquerque reached 100 degrees for the first time this year.

“It’s really the first big heat wave of the season,” NWS forecaster Bryan Jackson told USA TODAY on Friday. “It catches people off-guard.”

AccuWeather forecasters and NWS stations across the Southwest have warned that temperatures will be 5 to 10 degrees above normal averages this weekend. Many temperatures are forecast to exceed 100 degrees, including in Austin, Texas, where the high is forecast for 105 on Saturday.

Southwestern Arizona and southeastern California are expected to have highs of 110 to 115 degrees through the weekend. It’ll be hottest in Death Valley, where it’s expected to top 120 degrees for the first time this year.

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WHAT TO EXPECT:Phoenix faces dangerously high temperatures this weekend

An excessive heat warning sign stands at the entrance of a popular hiking spot at Camelback Mountain in Phoenix on Friday.

To stay safe, the NWS recommends people stay indoors, seek out air-conditioned buildings, drink water, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing, and check-in with others.

“Heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. This is something to watch out for,” Jackson said. “So, just a repeat of taking care of yourself and your neighbors.”

High pressure is to blame for the weekend heat wave, forecasters say. More air than average is spreading over the Southwest, creating a dome of hot, dry air.

The excessive heat warning is set to remain in effect until Sunday evening before the heat makes a move toward the center of the country and then to the east next week, Jackson said.

“This is a significant heat wave, particularly early in the season for June, that works its way across the country over the next five days,” he said.

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