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Dangerous heat wave could break temperature records, again, in cities across the country this week

A blistering heat wave that recently brought record-breaking temperatures to large sections of the southwestern United States, including several major cities, is forecast to continue this week as it tracks over much of the country on its way toward the East Coast. Meanwhile, meteorologists have warned that powerful storm weather could dump as much as a foot of rain, or more, on parts of Florida and potentially give rise to another round of tornado threats in central states. Metropolitan areas like Chicago may be affected by a possible twister. 

"As we get to these first couple weeks of June, a lot of places are really starting to see those temperatures escalate," Todd Shoemake, of the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, told the Associated Press on Monday. "Southern California, southern Nevada, southwestern Arizona, they're starting to see lots of triple digits."

Record heat in the western U.S.

Extreme heat alerts were active Monday for more than 20 million people across the Southwest, where various heat watches and warnings were set to become effective Tuesday and remain in place through Thursday in several areas, including vast swaths of Arizona, California and Nevada. Those three states shouldered most of the burden of the heat dome that blanketed the American West last week, driving temperatures up into the triple digits and reaching record heights in cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas. 

On Thursday and Friday, temperatures in Las Vegas soared to 111 degrees Fahrenheit and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, sealing new records for those days in the desert metro center, according to the National Weather Service. In Phoenix, the temperature jumped to 110 degrees on Thursday, the highest recorded so far in 2024, and went on to set a new record high temperature of 113 degrees as the heat persisted. In Albuquerque, temperatures reached 110 degrees on Friday, tying the city's record-high reading set in 1981. Temperatures in and around New Mexico's capital are typically some 20 degrees lower at this time of year.

More temperature records could be tied or broken this week in some places, although there will likely be fewer than last week, CBS News senior weather producer David Parkinson reported. Still, the Weather Prediction Center said in its latest weekly forecast that temperature anomalies would probably be par for the course while extreme heat lingers in the Southwest over the next several days, before moving on through the middle of the country and eventually arriving in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. 

"As for anomalous temperatures, an amplified mean upper ridge slated to slowly shift from the West/Southwest to the south-central U.S. and parts of the East will continue to produce much warmer than average temperatures," meteorologists wrote in that forecast. They noted that the most significant temperature anomalies would likely materialize in the Great Basin before shifting eastward into the Rockies and Great Plains. In those parts, high temperatures could depart as much as 10 or 20 degrees from the norm. 

Desert Southwest

That could pose serious threats to communities across the Desert Southwest and South Texas.

"It's crucial for residents and individuals involved in outdoor activities to stay informed and take necessary precautions," the weather prediction center said, for people in California and across the Southwest. In Phoenix, for example, the National Weather Service announced on Sunday that an excessive heat watch was in place for Tuesday through Thursday, with other parts of south-central and northwestern Arizona included. 

The weather service has since upgraded that alert to a heat warning, which is more serious, for Phoenix along with most of south-central Arizona. Meteorologists said temperatures could reach 112 degrees in the city this week.

The weather service in Phoenix urged people to take precautions as the heat wave rolls in. In a social media post shared Monday, the agency said that the level of sweltering heat expected brings with it a "high risk of heat stress or illnesses for anyone without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration." Meteorologists advised people in the region to avoid exposure to the sun entirely from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time while the heat warning is in place. Phoenix has established public "cooling centers" for people without access to air conditioning, as well as free transportation to those facilities.

In Las Vegas — which just experienced its hottest first week of June since temperature records began in 1937 — the heat was also expected to push temperatures well into the triple digits during the city's heat warning period, from Tuesday morning until Wednesday night, meteorologists said. 

"Temperatures return to dangerous levels on Tuesday and Wednesday, with afternoon highs 8 to 12 degrees above normal," the weather service in Las Vegas wrote on social media Sunday. 

East Coast and Mid-Atlantic

Extreme weather is forecast to touch the eastern U.S. later this week.

Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and scattered parts of Maryland and Virginia are all expected to see temperatures climb and reach a higher-than-normal threshold by Friday. Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia are both candidates to break temperature records as the heat wave settles in, Parkinson reported. Both of those cities, along with pockets of surrounding states, are coded with a "red alert" for Friday on a heat map developed by the weather prediction center, which projects temperature patterns over the next few days.

"This level of heat affects anyone without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration. Impacts likely in some health systems, heat-sensitive industries and infrastructure," the weather prediction center said, noting that the heat poses a "major risk for much of the population."

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