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California Simmers as Heat Wave Settles In

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Temperatures in parts of the Bay Area topped a hundred degrees Monday, with more hot weather expected this week. The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for Northern California effective through the July 4th holiday. Cities including Sacramento and San Jose are running cooling centers for residents seeking relief from the heat.

“We are seeing triple-digit temperatures all the way from south of Mount Shasta to Bakersfield and inland California,” said meteorologist Drew Peterson of the National Weather Service. “And we are expecting triple-digit temperatures to continue throughout most of the Valley through Friday.”

Northern Californians aren’t sweating it out alone. The high pressure system causing this heat wave extends from Arizona and Nevada all the way into Canada.

Bust it Away Photography/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustitaway/8123665726/in/photostream/

Death Valley may break its own record for hottest place on Earth. (Bust it Away Photography/Flickr)

And while prolonged triple-digit temperatures are unusual for Northern California, periods of extreme heat have occurred in the recent past. “The last time we had something like this was in 2006,” said Peterson. “There were about 163 deaths here in California, and anywhere from 250,000 to a million livestock were lost.”

Meanwhile tourists in Death Valley are watching the thermometer, hoping to witness the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth. Temperatures on Sunday tied the Death Valley record for the month of June. Death Valley holds the current world record at 134 degrees.

The heat wave will reach a peak on Tuesday or Wednesday, and meteorologists expect it to subside by the weekend.

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About the Author ()

Mike Osborne is currently finishing his PhD at Stanford where he studies climate change in the tropical Pacific. In his research he uses coral-based records (similar to tree rings) to examine El Nino and La Nina cycles over the past few centuries. Mike also created and co-produces the Generation Anthropocene podcast which features interviews and stories covering a wide range of 21st Century global change issues. He loves travel and is always looking for a reason to be outside.