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July 13, 2024 8:12 am

US biker dies from heat exposure as temperature reaches 53.3 Celsius in California’s Death Valley

Los Angeles, July 8

A visitor to Death Valley National Park died on Sunday from heat exposure and another person was hospitalised as the temperature reached 128 degrees Fahrenheit (53.3 C) in eastern California, officials said.

The two visitors were part of a group of six motorcyclists riding through the Badwater Basin area amid scorching weather, the park said in a statement.

The person who died was not identified. The other motorcyclist was transported to a hospital in Las Vegas for “severe heat illness”, the statement said.

The other four members of the party were treated at the scene.

“High heat like this can pose real threats to your health,” said park Superintendent Mike Reynolds.

The death comes as a long-running heat wave has shattered temperature records across the US.

A long-running heat wave that has already shattered previous records across the US will persist, baking parts of the West with dangerous temperatures that will soar into the 100s and holding the East in its hot and humid grip throughout the week, forecasters said on Sunday.

An excessive heat warning — the National Weather Service’s highest alert — was in effect for about 36 million (3.6 crore) people, or about 10 per cent of the population, said NWS meteorologist Bryan Jackson. Dozens of locations in the West and Pacific Northwest were expected to tie or break previous heat records, he said.

That was certainly the case over the weekend: Many areas in Northern California surpassed 110 degrees (43.3 C), with the city of Redding topping out at a record 119 (48.3 C). Phoenix set a new daily record on Sunday for the warmest low temperature: it never got below 92 F (33.3 C).

A high temperature of 128 F (53.3 C) was recorded on Sunday at Death Valley National Park in eastern California, the weather service said.

That did not faze Chris Kinsel, a visitor who said it was “like Christmas day for me” to be at Death Valley on a record-breaking day. Kinsel said he and his wife typically come to the park during the winter, when it is still plenty warm — but that is nothing compared with being at one of the hottest places on earth in July.

“Death Valley during the summer has always been a bucket list thing for me. For most of my life, I have wanted to come out here in summertime,” said Kinsel, who was visiting Death Valley’s Badwater Basin area from Las Vegas.

Kinsel said he planned to go to the park’s visitor centre to have his photo taken next to the digital sign displaying the current temperature.

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