LOS ANGELES, June 17 (Xinhua) -- From California and Arizona to Utah, Montana and Idaho, an intensive heat wave hit the U.S. West this week, creating a series of new record-high temperatures in many places.
The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) said Wednesday its official monitoring station at McCarran International Airport, located in downtown Las Vegas, recorded a high of 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) around local time 3:00 p.m. (2200 GMT), snapping the record high of 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) set for the date in 1940.
The NWS marked Wednesday's highest number of 115 with the color pink on its Twitter account, indicating this record was likely to be tied or broken the next day.
"It is unusual for Las Vegas to reach above 115 degrees, even in the hottest part of summer. The official reporting station for the city has documented temperatures above 115 degrees in only 21 of the last 73 years," said AccuWeather, an American media company that provides commercial weather forecasting services worldwide.
In Death Valley, California, about 200 kilometers east of Las Vegas, where the all-time high temperature on Earth was recorded on July 10, 1913 at 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees Celsius), experienced 125 degrees Fahrenheit (51.7 degrees Celsius) Wednesday afternoon.
Temperatures are forecast to stay at 125 degrees Fahrenheit (51.6 degrees Celsius) Thursday and 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50.0 degrees Celsius) Friday there.
By local time 5:00 p.m. (2400 GMT), the NWS marked Death Valley and Stovepipe Wells, California, as the hottest locations in the lower 48 states of the nation on Wednesday, both at 125 degrees Fahrenheit (51.7 degrees Celsius).
Moreover, all-time record temperatures were tied Tuesday in Billings of Montana, at 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 degrees Celsius), Salt Lake City at 107 (41.7 degrees Celsius) and Cheyenne, Wyoming, at 94 (34.4 degrees Celsius).
Salt Lake City (SLC), the capital city of Utah State, recorded three consecutive days of record-breaking temperatures that started with 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius) on Sunday and 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) on Monday.
On Tuesday afternoon, the NWS reported a temperature of 107 degrees Fahrenheit (41.7 degrees Celsius) in Salt Lake City.
This heat wave won't just be remembered for its intensity, but also for its duration, AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said Wednesday, adding the interior West would remain sweltering through the remainder of the week and into the weekend.
"Temperature departures from the Southwest to Montana can average 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Some areas will even have temperatures up to 25 degrees above normal," Pastelok said.
The temperature in Phoenix, capital city of Arizona, was expected to reach or exceed 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) each day through Saturday, breaking its record set respectively in 1968, 1979, 1990, 1995 and twice in 2020, according to the local NWS office.
On Wednesday, the widespread extreme heat totally engulfed nearly 40 million Americans, NBC news channel reported, adding 110 million Americans would have experienced highs above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 degrees Celsius) this week and over 20 million would have seen over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius).
NBC also predicted that, with the heat wave not expected to diminish until next week, more than 200 warm records nationwide could fall, including afternoon record highs and overnight lows.