Heat wave hammers west

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heat wave(CNN) — If you think a place called Furnace Creek would be hot in the summer, you’re right. The town in California’s Death Valley is expected to hit 128 degrees Saturday.

And the heat will stay on full blast through Tuesday, at least. At night, the mercury will drop to a refreshingly cool 96 degrees.

Fun aside, the heat wave scorching the Southwest is dangerous, as 170 concert goers found out Friday evening in Las Vegas, according to the fire department.

Ambulances plucked them out of 110 degree heat in an open air musical venue and drove them to a shady spot, where they could sit down and drink water.

An additional 30 people were treated for heat ailments in local hospitals.

The temperature in Las Vegas hit 113 degrees Friday, just shy of the city’s heat record of 115, CNN affiliate KLAS reported.

“I’m not worried as much about the people who have lived here a while,” said Sgt. Troy Stirling, police spokesman in the Lake Havasu, Arizona, near the California state line.

“It’s more the tourists coming into the area, even from Southern California, who aren’t used to this kind of heat.”

Civic and emergency officials throughout the Southwest say that if there was ever a time to worry, this would be it. The reason isn’t just the oppressive heat that is plaguing the region: It’s the fact it is expected to hang around, and possibly even get worse, over the next few days.

Many of the excessive heat warnings issued by the National Weather Service extend through Tuesday night, with advisories from northern California, including Sacramento, all the way to southern Arizona. Forecasters say temperatures through the weekend could rival a 2005 heat wave that killed 17 people in the Las Vegas area.

The culprit is a high pressure dome that’s blocking cooler air coming down from the Pacific Northwest, CNN meteorologist Indra Petersons said. That system won’t begin to break up until early next week, she said.

As a result, Phoenix residents should see a high of 119 degrees on Saturday. It should max out at 113 in the coming days in Palm Springs, California.

It’s not like sunset will provide much respite, as temperatures may not drop below 90 degrees in many places, even in the middle of the night.

The high temps come just a couple weeks before the 100th anniversary of what the National Weather Service calls the “highest reliably recorded air temperature on Earth” — 134 degrees on July 10, 1913, in Death Valley’s Greenland Ranch.

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