Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Potentially deadly heat wave to shatter records across Southwest

A punishing mid-June heat wave is set to scorch much of the Southwest and West this week, with Las Vegas potentially eclipsing its highest temperature on record, which stands at 117°F.

Why it matters: The heat will build in a region that is experiencing a record drought, leading to dangerous fire weather conditions, high power demands, and causing water supplies to dwindle further. The heat itself could prove deadly.

Details: Heat warnings and advisories are in effect from the California coast to Utah, northward to the border with Canada and south to the U.S.-Mexico border as monthly as well as all-time high temperature records could be tied or broken through Saturday.

  • Death Valley, Calif., which holds the U.S. record for hottest temperature ever recorded, could eclipse 120°F for several days.
  • In addition to the Las Vegas record, statewide high-temperature records for Arizona (128°F), set in Lake Havasu City, and Nevada (125°F), set in Laughlin, could be in jeopardy.
  • In Las Vegas, overnight low temperatures are not expected to drop below 85 to 90°F, posing a health threat to anyone without working air conditioning.

Threat level: The National Weather Service forecast office in Las Vegas is warning of significant threats to life and infrastructure from Monday through Saturday as the heat builds and refuses to relent.

  • NWS forecasters note the last time heat of similar magnitude and duration occurred there was late June to early July 2013. "During that event, Southern Nevada saw nearly 30 fatalities and over 350 heat-related injuries as well as temporary power outages." Heat is America's biggest weather killer each year.
  • In Sacramento, Calif., high temperatures could reach 110°F by Thursday as heat builds across the heart of the Golden States' agricultural belt.
  • Even downtown Los Angeles could see highs eclipse 100°F on Wednesday, as areas that are just a few miles inland from the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean roast under the influence of a sprawling heat dome.
  • With the drought and scorching heat, wildfire danger is elevated in many southwestern states, with large fires already burning in Arizona and California, for example
[rebelmouse-proxy-image crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//" expand=1]
Map showing projections of 500 millibar height anomalies across the U.S. on Wednesday, with the area in red depicting the heat dome over the Four Corners region. Image: WeatherBell.

Of note: The heat will raise power demand at a time of decreased output at hydroelectric plants. It will also dry soils further, expanding the area of "extreme" to "exceptional" drought, the worst categories.

  • Already, Lake Mead, the nation's largest reservoir by volume, has hit its lowest level on record, and this heat wave is likely to evaporate more water.
  • Red flag warnings for hazardous fire weather are in effect in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which are normally still covered with snow at this time of year.

By the numbers: For Phoenix, the NWS is projecting a 55-75% chance that the city would reach 115 degrees each day during the Tuesday through Friday time period.

Context: The heat wave and drought are working in tandem. Given the antecedent drought conditions, more solar radiation can go directly into heating the air, rather than evaporating moisture in soils, lakes, and rivers. This boosts temperatures higher than they might otherwise be.

  • In addition, one of the most robust conclusions of climate science is that heat waves are becoming more intense and longer-lasting as the climate warms overall.
  • In recent years, there has also been a trend toward stubborn and sprawling areas of high pressure aloft, known as heat domes, that block storm systems and keep hot weather locked in place for days at a time.
  • Such a weather pattern is currently in place across the West, and will be through the coming weekend.


In the Desert SW, we know heat very well - almost too well. Living here your whole life does not excuse you from feeling impacts of environmental stressors.

Heading to the lake? Recognize stressors around you, so you can take action before it's too late.⚠️#Monsoon2k21

— NWS Las Vegas (@NWSVegas) June 13, 2021

4 ffp

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories