Death Valley hits 130°F as 30 million under heat alerts across the West
Of note: McCarran International Airport tied Las Vegas' all-time record highest temperature of 117°F on Saturday evening, per a National Weather Service statement. Flights were canceled at the airport Friday as the temperature hit 116°F.
- California's Death Valley hit 129.4°F Saturday and 130°F on Friday, with the NWS warning it could reach 130°F again Sunday — marking some of the hottest temperatures ever reliably recorded on Earth.
- The World Meteorological Organization, which officially declares temperature records, is in the process of examining whether last year's temperature of 130°F in Death Valley was Earth's hottest recorded temperature since at least 1931, the Washington Post notes.
- The extreme heat is spurring wildfires across several U.S. states and Canada, triggering evacuations in California, Oregon and Idaho, and British Columbia.
- Two Arizona firefighters died when their aircraft crashed while responding to a wildfire in Mohave County.
By the numbers: Other notable temperatures in California on Saturday included Pine Flat hitting 113°F and Fresno reaching 110 °F.
- A temperature of 112°F was recorded in Phoenix, Arizona.
Our thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: The ongoing heat wave is the latest in a series of extreme heat events to hit the West so far this spring and summer. In a vicious feedback, the intense drought is helping to vault temperatures higher, while the heat is worsening the drought at the same time.
- Human-caused climate change is dramatically boosting the odds and severity of heat waves such as this one. A study out this week on the Pacific Northwest heat event concluded it would have been "virtually impossible" without global warming.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.