Heat wave hits Arizona, California on 1st day of summer

Pablo Tucker
June 22, 2017

A construction worker climbs onto a roof at sunrise to avoid the heat, Tuesday, June 20, 2017 in Phoenix.

A Durango flight was among those affected, as a Tuesday evening flight arriving from Phoenix was canceled due to excessive heat.

In the south-west U.S., the heat has already caused several problems.

Dangerously high temperatures kept planes from flying in Arizona, prompted an electricity conservation alert in California and tied the record high temperature Tuesday in Las Vegas. Project superintendent Tommy Russell says his company has held weekly safety meetings to prepare for the heat, and he will send all his workers home if it hits 120.

Kuhlman, who is based in Phoenix, admitted that he woke up at 4 a.m. Tuesday to do yard work before the sun came up. The mercury hit 117 degrees there.

The city of Phoenix advised residents to take precautions, such as limiting outdoor activity to before sunrise or after sunset, staying hydrated and wearing light-colored clothing.

- Never leave your auto locked or unattended without checking for pets and children inside. Authorities say the heat was likely a factor in the deaths.

The Associated Press reported this story.

It has been brutally hot in many areas thanks to what weather.com describes as a "large dome of high pressure" above the region. After the weekend, though, forecasters expect temperatures to return to more typical ones for an Arizona summer, a mere 107 degrees or so.

With heat like that, simply stepping outside can become a hazard.

GREENE: That is Paul Iniguez. "That's hot enough that if you trip and fall, or something happens and you find yourself on the road, it can cause burns instantly, just from touching that". David Smith of Central Arizona Shelter Services tells Morning Edition his agency is handing out more blankets.

Tucson missed its record high on Tuesday when it hit 116 degrees, but the combination of triple-digit afternoon temperature and a warm overnight low (87 degrees) set a record for average daily temperature, at 101.5 degrees.

The first day of summer brought some of the worst heat the Southwest U.S. has seen in years, forcing flights to be canceled, straining the power grid and making life miserable for some.

In Nevada, the Las Vegas Strip looked like a ghost town Tuesday.

When air is hotter, it's less dense.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says extra firefighters are on duty, battling multiple blazes across the state in the past few days. It also said, the flight changes are free of charge.

A study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that "around 30% of the world's population is now exposed to climatic conditions exceeding (a) deadly threshold for at least 20 days a year".

Sidewalks and roadways buckled in Northern California, the water was too hot for horses to drink in Southern California and more than 40 flights were canceled in Phoenix as temperatures approached 120 degrees in parts of Arizona, California and Nevada.

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