The United States is threatened by an unprecedented heat wave that is set to hit the country this week and has more than 50 million people on alert.

The U.S. National Weather Service has stated that “a prolonged and unprecedented heat wave is occurring across the West. Above normal temperatures trending to extreme highs are expected,” at least through the weekend, according to U.S. media reports.

Average temperatures are exceeding the seasonal norm, with states such as Arizona and Nevada most likely to reach record highs. Temperatures of up to 120ºF (49º Celsius) are expected in some parts of the North American country.

The northern hemisphere recorded the sixth warmest meteorological spring – covering the months of March, April and May – since the historical series of global temperatures began in 1880, according to the latest monthly climatological report from the US agency NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

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