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Western USA Staggers Under Massive Heatwave; 1 Dead

8:09 AM, Jun 30, 2013   |    comments
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LAS VEGAS -- Temperatures in Las Vegas shot up to 115 degrees on Saturday afternoon, just two degrees shy of an all-time record, as the Desert Southwest continued to stagger under a relentless heat wave.

Las Vegas fire and rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski told the Associated Press that a man died and another was hospitalized in serious condition Saturday afternoon in heat-aggravated incidents as a heat wave blistered this sunbaked city.

The heat wave has sent more than 40 other people to hospitals in Las Vegas since it arrived Friday. On Friday, 115-degree heat in the city tied a 19-year record.

Large swaths of California sweltered under extreme heat warnings, which are expected to last into Tuesday night - and maybe even longer.

In Southern California, Palm Springs peaked at 122 while the mercury in Lancaster set a record at 111, according to the L.A. Times.

The forecast for Death Valley in California called for 128, but it was a few degrees shy of that, according to unofficial reports from the National Weather Service. Death Valley's record high of 134, set a century ago, stands as the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth.

Phoenix hit 119 by mid-afternoon, breaking the record for June 29 that was set in 1994.

The heat is the result of a high-pressure system brought on by a shift in the jet stream, the high-altitude air current that dictates weather patterns. The jet stream has been more erratic in the past few years.

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