Temperatures in Death Valley, California are forecast to hit 53C this week
Extreme heat is set to sear parts of eastern California this week with temperatures expected to reach 53C this week, the US National Weather Service has forecast.
Death Valley in eastern California, known as the hottest place in America, and the town of Needles near the Arizona border will bear the brunt of the sizzling temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday (local time), according to meteorologist Tom Fisher.
The heatwave was expected to push temperatures even higher by mid-week, taxing power grids and prompting airlines to warn that flights could be disrupted. American Airlines cancelled seven flights on Monday and 43 for Tuesday.
Fisher said the sweltering weather could break records in some areas but was part of a cyclical pattern and not brought on by climate change or any other unusual phenomenon.
Death Valley is one of the hottest places on the planet and currently has the world record for the hottest ever recorded temperature, 56.7C in the summer of 1913.
"It's not unprecedented at all, things oscillate around," Fisher said.
"We've had a fairly cool spring, had 'May Gray' and 'June Gloom', this our first real warmth of the season."
Temperatures were expected to drop by 2.5 to five degrees later in the week but in the meantime the National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings and advisories across the Southwest.
Even in typically cooler San Francisco, residents baked in sultry 31C.