'Crazy' tourists flock to Death Valley expecting new heat record to be broken

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Tourists have ‘giddily’ flocked to Death Valley to try see a heat record broken.

Temperatures reached a shocking 55C.

People posed and smiled next to a digital temperature board as they celebrated the ‘exciting’ day out.

One woman described the heat as like ‘being in an oven’ while another visitor said he was only able to stay outside for ten minutes.

But one man had made the trip to protest the reaction to the potential heat record.

He told Reuters: ‘The fact that people are coming out here to celebrate this, that the park service are giddy – it’s not a milestone. I’m calling it ‘Happy Death Day’.

‘What are we celebrating?’ he asked wearily.

On social media, users branded the picture frenzy as ‘crazy’.

High temperatures are leading to chaos across the world – leading to the UN issuing a warning.

The extreme heat scorching the US city of Phoenix, Arizona, has set a new record, the 19th consecutive day temperatures hit at least 43C in a summer of suffering echoing around much of the globe.

As human-caused climate change and a newly formed El Nino are combining to shatter heat records worldwide, the Phoenix region stands apart among major metropolitan areas in the US.

No other major city – defined as the 25 most populous in the United States – has had any streak of 43C days or 32C nights longer than Phoenix, said weather historian Christopher Burt, of the Weather Company.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate data scientists Russ Vose and Ken Kunkel found no large cities with that streak of warming, but smaller places such as Death Valley and Needles, California, and Casa Grande, Arizona, have had longer streaks.

Death Valley has had an 84-day streak of 43C temperatures and a 47-day streak of night-time temperatures that have not fallen below 32C, Mr Vose said.

For Phoenix, it is not only the brutal daytime highs that are deadly.

The lack of a night-time cooldown can rob people without access to air conditioning of the break from the heat that their bodies need to continue to function properly.

On Monday, the city set a record for the hottest overnight low temperature: 35C.

Some 200 cooling and hydration centres have been set up across the metro area to cool residents, but both shut down between 4pm and 7pm due to staffing and funding issues.

‘Long-term exposure to heat is more difficult to withstand than single hot days, especially if it is not cooling off at night enough to sleep well,’ said Katharine Jacobs, director of the Centre for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions at the University of Arizona.

The last time Phoenix did not reach 43.3C was on June 29, when it hit 42.2C.

The record of 18 days above 110F that was tied on Monday was first set in 1974, and it appeared destined to be shattered with temperatures forecast above that through the end of the week.

‘This will likely be one of the most notable periods in our health record in terms of deaths and illness,’ said David Hondula, chief heat officer for the City of Phoenix.

‘Our goal is for that not to be the case.’

Normally, the Southwest’s monsoon season kicks in around June 15 with rain and clouds.

But Phoenix has not had measurable rain since mid-March.

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