29 Jun 2013

Western US states swelter under heat wave

7:16 pm on 29 June 2013

People in the western United States are baking under a heat wave.

Forecasters say it could rise to nearly 54 degrees Celsius in Death Valley in California, close to the world record of 56C, which was recorded in the same region 100 years ago.

In Phoenix, Arizona, the mercury hit 47C on Friday, and in Death Valley the thermometer approached 51C.

The BBC reports the heat wave is expected to last through the weekend.

Cities in the region are opening cooling centres and officials fear the heat could delay air travel.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat warning for several parts of the region, including Las Vegas, until Monday morning. Parts of five states including Colorado and Utah will see temperatures higher than 37C over the weekend.

The hottest air temperature ever recorded on Earth, 57C, was marked in Death Valley in California on 10 July 1913.