A high pressure system hanging over the West this weekend is bringing temperatures extreme even for a region used to baking during the summer.
Temperatures are forecast to approach or match records in the southwest. The mercury should hit 117 in Las Vegas for only the third time ever, while Phoenix should see 118 and Death Valley may see 129.
National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Stachelski says the oven-like conditions are coming earlier than normal. Las Vegas' summertime highs usually arrive in the third week of July.
The hottest cities are taking special precautions to protect residents from scorching temperatures. Police are pleading with drivers not to leave babies or pets in their car, and temporary cooling stations are opening to draw homeless people out of the rays.