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Phoenix – An excessive heat warning was issued for a broad swath of the southwestern U.S. on Monday with temperatures expected to approach 120 degrees this week in what forecasters say could prove to be the hottest days of the year.

The National Weather Service said southern Arizona will experience temperatures from 112 to 119 degrees through Wednesday. That heat warning extended to parts of Southern California, including desert communities such as El Centro, Palm Springs, Twentynine Palms and Blythe, as well as north to Vegas and other parts of Nevada.

The news prompted the operator of California’s electrical grid to call for voluntary conservation of power Tuesday and Wednesday due to high temperatures in much of the West.

Parts of Utah were also issued an excessive heat warning with temperatures this week expected to approach 109 degrees.The weather service said the warning for Utah’s Dixie and Lake Powell regions will be in effect Tuesday through Thursday.

A lesser heat advisory was in effect for west Texas and southeast New Mexico into Monday evening, with high temperatures well into the triple digits, the service said. Still, it was so hot in Las Cruces on Monday morning that afternoon school bus service was canceled.

The weather agency uses a complicated formula that varies from region to region to declare an excessive heat warning, including close to record-breaking temperatures.

Some of the highest temperatures over the next few days were expected in Phoenix, where the weather service issued a tweet to warn residents to stay hydrated and take advantage of cooler indoor buildings.

The tweet says officials “can’t stress enough that it will become dangerously hot early this week.”

Firefighters and city officials on Monday morning distributed bright red cloth visors, hand fans and blue-colored cooling neckerchiefs to downtown commuters, advising them to stay inside as much as possible.

“I’m hoping to stay in the air conditioning all day, and I’m planning to take it easy,” Lisa Kirby said, who was visiting from Rhode Island for a conference.

Britain hot spell continues

Britain is experiencing a severe heatwave which has prompted its national weather service to issue an alert for people to ‘stay out of the sun’.

The Met Office forecasting service on Monday sent out a level-3 amber alert which will stay in place for most east and southeast England until Friday morning. The warning is generally issued when temperatures soar to 86 degrees or more during the day and fall no lower than 59 degrees at night, for at least two consecutive days

Heat wave grips Japan

Japan recorded its highest temperature ever Monday as a deadly heat wave continued to grip a wide swath of the country and nearby South and North Korea.

The mercury hit 106 degrees in Kumagaya, a city in Saitama prefecture about 40 miles northwest of Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. Two lingering high pressure systems have trapped warm and humid air above the region.

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