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People cool off in the Whitewater River in Whitewater, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

More than 30 million Americans were under excessive heat warnings or advisories across the West on Saturday, as forecasters warned of more record high temperatures.

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.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • 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.

What else is happening: California's power regulator and Nevada public utility NV Energy asked people to conserve power, as the states were hit by triple-digit temperatures.

  • 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.

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.

For the record: North America experienced its hottest June on record last month, as a deadly heat wave struck the Pacific Northwest.

Go deeper: Extreme heat has killed an estimated 1 billion small sea creatures

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Oct 15, 2021 - Science

Americans perceive a rise in extreme weather, Pew finds

Americans are taking notice of extreme weather events, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Details: Two-thirds of Americans say extreme weather events in the U.S. have been occurring more frequently than in the past, while only 28% said they've been taking place about as often, and just 4% perceiving a dropoff in frequency.

Exclusive: Biden administration raises minimum wage for federal employees to $15

A poster demanding a federal $15-per-hour minimum wage seen near the White House in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 26, 2021. Photo: Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Federal agencies are being directed to raise the minimum wages for government employees to $15 an hour, according to new guidance from the Office of Personnel Management shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: The guidance will impact almost 70,000 federal employees, most of which work at the Departments of Agriculture, Defense and Veterans Affairs. OMP is directing agencies to implement the new wage by Jan. 30.

Kate Marino, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The Federal Reserve is open to creating a digital dollar

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Federal Reserve finally released a much-delayed paper yesterday opining on the pros and cons of developing its own central bank digital currency (CBDC), but without coming to any firm conclusions.

Why it matters: Around the world, there are now 23 CBDCs either in pilot or formally launched. They have morphed from a theoretical concept into real-world digital cash, changing the way governments and millions of people use money — but not in the U.S.