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Severe, chaotic weather around the US with high temperatures in the Southwest and Midwest, snow in the Rockies

Severe, chaotic weather around the US with high temperatures in the Southwest and Midwest, snow in the Rockies

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PHOENIX (AP) — Extreme heat spread across Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Texas, Colorado and Kansas as severe weather swept across much of the U.S. on Sunday. There was unseasonable cold in the Pacific Northwest, snow moved into the northern Rocky Mountains and heavy rain was forecast from the Northern Plains to the upper Midwest.

The National Weather Service estimated that more than 63 million people were under heat warnings on Sunday, stretching from the southwest north through Denver to Chicago.

Temperatures in Phoenix, which reached 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius) on Saturday, were expected to reach close to that on Sunday. Weather service forecasters say the first two weeks of June in Phoenix have already been an average of 5.6 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than normal, making it the warmest start to June on record.

“We’ve already seen some pretty high temperatures in our area,” said Ted Whittock, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix. “We recommend everyone spend less time outdoors between 10am and 6pm, stay hydrated and wear light, loose-fitting clothing.”

Whittock said the heat in metro Phoenix will ease somewhat Monday through Wednesday, with highs rising again during the week, likely leading to another extreme heat warning.

The heat has been especially dangerous in recent years in metro Phoenix, where 645 people died from heat-related causes in 2023 – a record.

The city and Maricopa County have taken additional measures this year in hopes of keeping people safer, including two new overnight cooling centers where people can rest in the air conditioning after the sun goes down. Since May 1, more than 100 other cooling centers have been opened where people can get cold water and sit in a cool room during the day.

In neighboring New Mexico, a heat advisory was in effect this weekend for the plains of Chavez County, including Roswell, where the high Monday was expected to reach 107 degrees F (41.6 degrees Celsius). The high for Albuquerque was forecast at 99 degrees F (37.2 C) on Sunday, cooling slightly to 96 degrees F (37.6 C) on Monday. Highs were expected to approach 105°F (40.6°C) in El Paso, Texas, where five cooling centers are now open.

Temperatures in the 90s to near 100 degrees F (37.7 C) were expected in metro Denver and areas to the south. Thunderstorms were possible in communities north of Denver.

The heat wave moved east into the Plains and Great Lakes region on Sunday and was expected to arrive in the Northeast on Tuesday. The threat of thunderstorms with potential high winds and heavy rain increased in the Chicago area even as heat indices were forecast to reach near 100 degrees F (37.7 C) by midweek.

As the heat wave spreads eastward, temperatures in Washington and the rest of the mid-Atlantic, as well as New England, are likely to peak in the mid-90s during the week, with temperatures high humidity makes the feeling even more stuffy. .

The US experienced the most heat waves last year, consisting of abnormally warm weather lasting more than two days, since 1936.

While much of the country is sweltering, snow was forecast for the northern Rockies late Monday and Tuesday. Parts of Montana and north-central Idaho were under a winter weather watch, with as much as 6 inches of heavy, wet snow expected in the mountains around Missoula, Montana. As much as 20 inches (51 centimeters) was forecast for higher elevations around Glacier National Park.

Meanwhile, a new batch of tropical moisture will bring an increasing threat of heavy rain and flash flooding to the central Gulf Coast Sunday through Monday. Heavy rain is expected to fall Monday morning, with moisture shifting toward the Gulf Coast on Tuesday.

Intense flooding from heavy rain continued to recede in southern Florida, where some areas in and around Miami and Fort Lauderdale were flooded in recent days as storms dumped up to 50 centimeters (20 inches).

That unnamed storm system coincided with the early start of the hurricane season, which this year is expected to be one of the most active in recent memory.