Heat wave scorches California, Southwest; turns deadly in Las Vegas

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The heat wave that has been scorching California and western states shows no sign of relenting. 

National Weather Service spokesman John Dumas told the Associated Press that temperatures will continue to be high until at least Tuesday night. According to the AP,

To make matters worse, Dumas says cooling ocean breezes haven't been traveling far enough inland overnight to fan Southern California's overheated valleys and deserts.

The brutal heat wave is being blamed for at least one death in Nevasda.

Saturday in Las Vegas, an elderly man was found dead in his home, which did not have air conditioning, the Las Vegas Sun reports. Paramedics say the heat contributed to his death, a spokesman for Las Vegas Fire and Rescue tells the Sun. For the second consecutive day, the temperature hit 115 degrees Fahrenheit in the city.

Now forecasters warn that temperatures, which have also topped 110 in other cities, hit 122 in Palm Springs, Calif., and went even higher in Death Valley, won't be coming down in the next few days. What's worse, they might even go a bit higher. As CNN puts it:

"Civic and emergency officials throughout the Southwest say if there was ever a time to worry, this would be it."

According to the National Weather Service:

"Temperatures will continue to approach or exceed records underneath an expansive upper ridge anchored over the Southwest and Great Basin. Excessive heat warnings remain in effect for a large portion of California ... Nevada ... and Arizona ... where daytime highs will yet again dangerously soar well past the century mark and overnight lows will barely drop into the seventies and eighties. As the ridge begins to build northward late Sunday and into Monday ... triple digit temperatures will expand north through the Intermountain West and all the way to the Canadian border."

The Weather Service's latest map shows "excessive heat" alerts in five states: California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. There are slightly less ominous "heat advisories" posted for Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Montana.

The Weather Channel adds that "temperatures will continue to soar well into the 110s and even 120s into the new week."

Saturday, we wrote about the Weather Service's webpage where it posts updates on the temperature in Death Valley the highest "reliably recorded air temperature on Earth," 134 degrees Fahrenheit, was registered in Death Valley on July 10, 1913).

The high there Saturday, according to that chart, was 124 degrees.

At 4:10 a.m. local time Sunday (7:10 a.m. ET) the temperature in Death Valley was 105 degrees. That's 5 degrees higher than at the same time Saturday.

If you need a refresher on tips for how to stay safe when its extremely hot, the Weather Service has them posted here. As we said Saturday, they include:

— Stay inside if you have air conditioning. Go to a library, store or cooling center if you don't.

— Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.

— Slow down. This isn't a time to be outside exercising.

— Check our tips on creative ways of keeping cool this weekend.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

With contributions from Mark Memmott and The Associated Press

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