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Early heat wave on West Coast to stretch through end of the week

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(NEW YORK) — A dangerous heat wave that began much earlier than usual is continuing on the West Coast.

Heat advisories are currently in place for Seattle, Portland, Oregon, and down to Fresno and Bakersfield in California.

Several record-high temperatures were broken over the weekend in California and the Pacific Northwest, according to the National Weather Service.

Highs of 95 degrees in North Bend, Oregon, 92 degrees in Portland and 89 degrees in Seattle all broke daily records on Sunday. A temperature of 102 degrees in Bakersfield tied the record.

More record heat is forecast on Monday from Seattle down to Portland, where temperatures are expected to remain near 90 degrees.

Slight relief will come on Tuesday for some regions, such as Seattle, but heat returns by the middle of the week, with 90-degree temperatures expected in Portland and near 100-degree temperatures forecast in Fresno to end the week.

The scorching temperatures are unseasonable for this time of year, especially for the Pacific Northwest. The majority of households in the region are not equipped with central air conditioning, raising the risk for heat-related illness for residents there. Extreme heat is the deadliest natural hazard in the U.S, experts said.

Temperatures do not typically begin to climb so high in the region until well into June, records show.

The increase of extreme heat is an indicator of human-caused climate change, scientists say.

More than 230 locations in the U.S. have seen the annual number of minimum mortality temperature heat days — temperatures at which the health risks also start to rise — by 21 more days on average since 1970, according to an analysis by Climate Central.

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