A widespread heat wave is poised to deliver record-breaking temperatures along the U.S. West Coast, intensifying the discomfort for millions of Americans already enduring extreme heat

conditions in Arizona and Nevada.

Approximately 36 million people, or roughly 10% of the U.S. population, are under excessive heat warnings due to the heat dome centered over California, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). This extreme weather pattern, driven by climate change, is expected to persist and deliver dangerous conditions for decades, researchers warn.

High temperatures are forecast to meet or exceed daily records in Washington state, Oregon, California, northern Arizona, and central Idaho. In some areas, temperatures are soaring as much as 20 degrees above average. For instance, Redding in northern California hit an all-time high of 119 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius) on Saturday, NWS meteorologist Bryan Jackson reported.

"We expect the heat wave to drift eastward early next week and persist throughout the week. It's a widespread and extreme heat event," Jackson said.

An additional 36 million people are under heat advisories, while about 1 million are facing excessive heat watches, including regions in eastern Oregon, northeastern Nevada, and southwestern Idaho.

Heat warnings indicate that hazardous conditions are imminent, unlike heat watches, which suggest that such conditions are expected in the near future.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for urgent action to prevent what he termed "climate hell." The past 12 months have each ranked as the warmest on record globally, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the European Union's climate monitoring agency.

In response to these extreme conditions, the Biden administration recently proposed the first-ever safety standard aimed at protecting workers and communities from the impacts of extreme heat. Photo by Miamiboyz, Wikimedia commons.