A record-setting heatwave is tormenting residents of the Southwest and southern California and already has caused four people to die from heat-related ailments.
And unfortunately, the worst may be yet to come.
The National Weather Service says that dangerous heat levels will continue, and that temperatures of 120 degrees will be possible in some places.
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The culprit is a high-pressure air mass in the mid to upper-levels of the atmosphere, which will remain anchored from the southern plains to the Southwest through the next two days, according to NWS. Government forecasters predict that some relief will start to come by mid-week, as the high pressure weakens slightly, though the thermometer still will remain high.
Temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday are projected to remain 10 to 20 degrees above average across much of the Southwest, as well as portions of the Rockies and the central/southern plains.
Temperatures in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson and other parts of Arizona broke daily records Sunday afternoon, with temperatures in Phoenix reaching 118 degrees.
At least four hikers on area trails died due to the heat, the Arizona Republic reported.
"It really shows how critical this heat can be and how it can really sneak up on you," said Capt. Larry Subervi, a Phoenix Fire spokesman, told the newspaper.
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The hot, dry weather made it more difficult for firefighters to contain wildfires that raged in eight states over the weekend, USA Today reported.
In southern California, one such blaze in Santa Barbara County and Los Padres National Forest has consumed 7,893 acres already, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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