Updated June 17, 2021 - 7:01 pm
A decades-old record for highest daily temperature was broken Thursday, and an excessive heat warning was extended through Sunday in the Las Vegas Valley.
At 2:55 p.m., Las Vegas reached 114 degrees at McCarran International Airport, where the National Weather Service takes official readings. That broke the previous record high of 113 set on June 17, 1940, the weather service said.
A heat wave blanketing much of the West this week is responsible for the furnace-like weather. On Wednesday, the temperature reached 116 at McCarran, breaking the June 16 daily record and falling one degree short of the all-time high mark of 117, the weather service said.
Thursday was the third day in a row that temperatures have hit or exceeded 113.
The hot streak is expected to last at least two more days, with highs of 113 on Friday and 114 on Saturday forecast, followed by a 112-degree top on Sunday, the weather service said. Overnight lows will be in the high to mid-80s.
An excessive heat warning that began Monday has been extended an extra day and will now end at 8 p.m. Sunday.
“Sunday is still going to be very hot, and folks still need to take extra precautions,” meteorologist Kate Guillet said.
The weather service said that since records were first kept in 1937, there have been at least five instances when the high was at or above 113 for at least five days in a row. The longest stretch was in 1940, when highs hovered at or above 113 for eight consecutive days.
Slight cooling expected next week
Temperatures are likely to drop slightly come Monday but will still be in the triple digits through next week, according to the weather service.
“The threat for the general population is still concerning but not quite as high,” Guillet said.
The weather service is also forecasting widespread haze in the valley through 2 p.m. Thursday because of dust and smoke from nearby wildfires, Guillet said.
Clark County’s higher elevations in the Spring Mountains and Sheep Range were under a wildfire watch, as a chance for isolated showers could cause lighting to spark tinder-dry vegetation.
Scientists who study drought and climate change say that people living in the American West can expect to see more of the same in the coming months and years, The Associated Press reported.
“Heat waves are getting worse in the West because the soil is so dry” from the region’s megadrought, said Park Williams, a University of California, Los Angeles, climate and fire scientist who has calculated that soil in the western half of the nation is the driest it has been since 1895. “We could have two, three, four, five of these heat waves before the end of the summer.”
Officials have warned people to pay attention to safety warnings during the heat wave by staying inside as much as possible, drinking plenty of water and wearing light, breathable clothing.
“Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location,” the warning said, urging people to call 911 for help for possible heatstroke victims.
The Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross has shared the following reminders:
— Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
— Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat and take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
— Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, spend much of their time alone or are more likely to be affected by the heat.
— Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
— Walnut Recreation Center, 3075 N. Walnut Road (south of East Cheyenne Avenue) Las Vegas; 702-455-8402, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
— Pearson Community Center, 1625 W. Carey Ave. (west of North Martin Luther King Boulevard), Las Vegas; 702-455-1220; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
— Downtown Recreation Center, 105 W. Basic Road (east of Pacific Avenue), Henderson; 702-267-4040; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
— Catholic Charities, 1511 Las Vegas Blvd. North (near Foremaster Lane), Las Vegas; 702-385-2662; noon-3 p.m. daily.
— Hollywood Recreation Center, 1650 S. Hollywood Blvd., (north of American Beauty Avenue), Las Vegas; 702-455-0566; 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday.
— Cambridge Recreation Center, 3930 Cambridge St., (north of East Flamingo Boulevard), Las Vegas; 702-455-7169; 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday.
— Whitney Recreation Center, 5712 E. Missouri Ave., (south of Tropicana Boulevard and west of Boulder Highway), Las Vegas; 702-455-7576; 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
— SHARE Village (daily hydration only), 50 N. 21st St. (east of East Charleston Boulevard), Las Vegas; 702-222-1680; 6-7 a.m. breakfast pantry, 8-10 a.m. grocery pantry.
— Downtown Senior Center (age 50+), 27 E. Texas Ave. (near East Army Street), Henderson; 702-267-4150; noon-3 p.m., Monday-Friday.
— Courtyard Homeless Resource Center, 1401 Las Vegas Blvd. North (enter at 310 Foremaster Lane), Las Vegas; 702-229-6117; 24 hours all days.
— American Legion Richard Springston Post 60, 1510 Bruce Woodbury Drive, Laughlin; 702-299-1510; 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on days with temperatures more than 112 degrees. An outside cooling area will be open for pets on a leash or in a carrier, but no pets will be allowed inside the building.
— Colorado River Food Bank, 240 Laughlin Civic Drive, Laughlin, 89029; 702-298-9220; 8 a.m.-2:45 p.m., Monday-Friday.
— The Senior Center of Boulder City offers an air-conditioned place for older residents, 813 Arizona St.; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.