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Weekly wrap-up: Extreme heat bakes southwestern US; Lightning kills at least 90 in India

Brutally hot weather across the Southwest challenged all-time record highs and provided ideal conditions for burgeoning wildfires this week.

Highs soared well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in many cities during the first half of the week. Phoenix recorded its fifth highest all-time temperature on Sunday, hitting 118; Las Vegas (115) and Death Valley (126) each set new daily record highs on Monday.

Blythe, California, about 200 miles east of Los Angeles, set all-time record highs on consecutive days after hitting 124 on Monday and 126 on Tuesday.

At least five hikers died while hiking in Arizona as temperatures approached record high levels.

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The exceptionally hot and dry weather was a factor in keeping the wildfire threat elevated this week, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Carl Erickson.

Major wildfires broke out in Southern California, both resulting in evacuations.

In New Mexico, the Dog Head Fire, located southeast of Albuquerque, burned over 17,000 acres and destroyed 24 homes and 21 other minor structures. In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey issued a state of emergency for Navajo County after the Cedar Fire burned more than 45,000 acres.

Severe thunderstorms brought hail, strong winds and flooding downpours into the mid-Atlantic states on Tuesday. In Cape May County, New Jersey, the National Weather Service reported that a microburst damaged trees and brought down power lines.

Damaging storms reignited across the Midwest on Wednesday evening, with damaging tornadoes reported in Illinois. As the storms rumbled through Chicago, the Copa America match between Colombia and Chile at Solider Field was delayed for two hours.

Four people were injured when an EF2 tornado tracked near Pontiac, Illinois. A second EF2 tornado hit the town of Seneca, about 30 miles north of Pontiac. People were trapped in a house after the tornado hit the area, but no injuries were reported, according to the local fire department.

Tropical Storm Danielle made landfall just north of Tuxpan, Mexico, around 10 p.m. CDT on Monday. Danielle brought heavy rain to eastern Mexico through the middle of the week. At least one death was reported in east-central Mexico, according to the Associated Press.

More than 90 people were killed in India as a result of lightning strikes. Most of the people that were killed were working on farms during torrential rains, according to the BBC.

A powerful tornado and hailstorm struck eastern China, claiming at least 78 lives near the city of Yancheng in the Jiangsu province, according to the AP. Nearly 500 people were injured, including 200 critically.

Several AccuWeather meteorologists and staff writers contributed content to this article.


Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Kevin Byrne at Kevin.Byrne@accuweather.com, follow him on Twitter at @Accu_Kevin. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook