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Heat wave baking Southwest expected to continue several days

August 15, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — An “intense and relentless” heat wave baking much of the U.S. Southwest will continue into the coming week, forecaasters warned Saturday.

Phoenix on Friday tied a record for the date with a high of 117 degrees (47 Celsius). Friday was the eighth day in 2020 with a high of at least 115 degrees (46 Celsius), beating the old record of seven days in 1974, the National Weather Service said.

Bianca Feldkircher, a weather service meteorologist in Phoenix, said the extreme heat was caused by an unusually strong high-pressure system.

“Unfortunately it doesn’t look as if it is really going to end any time soon,” Feldkircher told The Associated Press. “It starts to weaken a little by the end of next week and into next weekend. But even then, high temperatures still only drop to about 110 (degrees). But it still be significantly hot just since this high pressure system will still be parked over us.”

The same high-pressure ridge over Arizona and Nevada was elevating temperatures in California, said Mike Wofford, a weather service meteorologist in Oxnard, California.

Excessive heat warnings blanketed large parts of the three states, warning of “dangerously hot conditions” with highs up to 119 degrees (48 Censius) in some desert areas until Wednesday evening.

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Forecasters’ advice included drinking lots of water, limiting outdoor exposure, keeping hydrated and checking on elderly family members and neighbors.

Local governments and charities set up hydration stations for people to get relief from the heat, Feldkircher noted. “And then it’s up to each individual to take the right precautions,” she said.

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Associated Press journalist Julie Walker in New York contributed.