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Heat wave across western US as millions facing historic life-threatening temperatures and dangerous weather conditions

A HISTORIC heat wave across the West of the United States has sparked extreme weather warnings for 50 million Americans.

A heat dome has engulfed the west meaning several days of extremely dry weather and record breaking temperatures are expected to continue.

Weather officials have issued Red Flag warnings and heat advisories for states including California, Nevada and Utah.

Those living in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado are also under advisories.

The National Weather Service (NWS) tweeted: "Dangerous and record-breaking heat will continue across the western and central U.S. over the next several days.

"Dangerous heat will affect much of the western U.S. for much of this week with temperatures up to 120 degrees. These temperatures make any outdoor activities dangerous so stay cool and hydrated."

Meteorologist Bill Murrell said: "This is happening in the middle of June. This is unprecedented."

In Salt Lake City, Utah, the region tied with its highest ever temperature of 107 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday.

The NWS said: "We have now tied the highest temperature EVER recorded at Salt Lake City in any month of the year, in the last 147 years of records.

"It has only happened twice before: July 2002 and July 1960."

Phoenix in Arizona was also breaking records with temperatures hitting 117 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday.

The NWS there tweeted: "Record high temperature tied in Phoenix."

Highs of 118F are forecast for Thursday and Friday.

And in Colorado the city of Denver broke its June 15 record, reaching a high of 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

The NWS tweeted on Tuesday: "The high so far today in Denver has been 101 degrees.

"This breaks the old record of 97 which occurred in 1952 and 1993. There are still several more hours for it to get even warmer."

The Weather Service office in Las Vegas said: "Temperatures in Las Vegas will reach at least 113 degrees [on Tuesday], and highs are forecast to be at or above 113 degrees through Saturday.

"A five-day stretch of max temperatures at or above 113 has only occurred five times in Las Vegas for the period of record dating back to 1937."

AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert said: "The heat will only become more intense through the week."

This is because the jet stream moves northwards as hot air floods into the region.

Highs of 15-25F above normal are expected at the peak of the heatwave.

The NWS in California's Bay Area tweeted: "The first real heat event of 2021 will impact the Bay Area Wed->Fri. Dangerous and near record-breaking heat will be possible. Heat impacts will be mainly inland."

Palmdale in California broke a 1966 record of 105F to hit 107 degrees.

Temperatures in Death Valley could reach 123F by Wednesday - just 10 degrees shy of the all-time of 134F recorded in 1913, according to the National Park Service.

The NWS warned: "Dozens (possibly hundreds) of daily record high maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be set over the next few days in California, the Intermountain West, Desert Southwest, Rockies, and Central/Northern Plains."

The high temperatures increase the risk of wildfires.

Long periods of heat are known as heat domes. They are formed when vast areas of sweltering heat become trapped under a high-pressure dome.

The larger a heat dome grows, the longer the heatwave lasts.

On Sunday, temperatures in Tucson and Safford, Arizona soared to 112F and 113F.

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