How to prepare for this weekend’s heat wave stretching from California to Texas

The National Weather Service is forecasting dangerously high temperatures in the triple digits across the Southwest this weekend.

Excessive heat warnings and advisories have been issued across the region, from southern Texas to California. According to the NWS, residents can expect to see daytime temperatures 10-20 degrees above normal.

Additionally, areas where excessive heat warnings have been issued will see little reprieve at night, with temperatures staying above 75 degrees overnight. These conditions pose a serious threat for heat-related illnesses, the NWS warns.

Parts of the region, from Palm Springs in southern California to Las Vegas, Nev. and Phoenix, Ariz., will see highs up to 115 degrees Saturday. Temperatures in most areas aren’t expected to drop below 80 until Tuesday, according to NWS predictions.

Extreme heat can be dangerous for anyone, but vulnerable groups including young children, elderly adults and individuals with underlying health conditions should take additional precautions. Be sure to slow down, the NWS advises, and undertake strenuous activities during the coolest parts of the day. Avoid any unnecessary exposure to the sun and heat, and always be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

If you don’t have access to air conditioning at home, consider spending time in public places that do, such as malls, libraries, movie theaters and more. Also, you can take a cold shower or bath to cool off.

If it is warmer than 90 degrees in your home, blowing warm air with a portable fan your way will actually dehydrate you faster, the NWS warns. Instead, use that fan to expel hot air from whatever room you’re seeking refuge in.

And if you’re running errands with young children or pets, under no circumstances should they be left in the car, according to the NWS.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the internal temperature of a car can climb 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. A child’s body temperature rises three to five times quicker than an adults; 23 children died from vehicular heatstroke last year.

Much of the West and southwestern United States are already experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. As a result, this weekend’s heatwave comes hand in hand with an increased danger for wildfires.

The NWS has issued fire weather watches – an alert that conditions are ideal, but not imminent, for wildfires – in parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Though these advisories aren’t an indication that a fire will occur, they should serve as a warning for residents to be prepared as wildfires become probable.

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