After a week of ascending temperatures, several parts of the U.S. Southwest are expecting over 120 degrees for this week. The harsh heat wave has already left people injured, fatal victims, wildfires and a possible halt of flights until the temperature drops.
While in Phoenix the temperature reached on Saturday the 111 degrees, during Sunday, the mercury rose to 120 degrees. It is expected to reach an even higher temperature, becoming extremely close to the city’s record of 122 degrees, reached on June 26, 1990.
Other areas that have been warned about the excessive heat include Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs and Anaheim in California, Las Vegas in Nevada, and as for Arizona, Tucson is another city that will be confronting the high temperatures. Around 66 million people live in this area, which represents a fifth of the United States total population.
Though for these states triple-digit temperatures are usual by this time of the year, officials are advising people to stay hydrated and not expose themselves to the threatening heat.
“If we are going to 115 or 120, people need to realize they are really in a life-threatening situation if they don’t wet themselves down and drink water,” said Kevin Kalkbrenner, Phoenix’s director of homeland security and emergency management, told ABC News.
Since Hiking is a favorite activity in the Phoenix Parks, the local officials are being told to stay alert for an increment of heat-related illnesses, and rangers in charge of the parks need to warn the visitors about the risks and the symptoms they should be aware of. These include thirst, red skin, dizziness, and nausea. A heat stroke that stays untreated could lead to the death of the person.
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Cases of deaths have already been confirmed by officers. In early June, a woman died from heat exposure in her backyard. In Pinal County, a 25-year-old man died from the same cause while hiking on Saturday. Another woman was rescued by firefighters after becoming unresponsive during a mountain biking session in the morning. Last year, 84 deaths were attributed to excessive heat.
Between 2006 and 2016, around 3,000 deaths from heat-related illnesses were registered, though these are “all preventable”, according to Kristie Ebi, professor of global health at the University of Washington.
The states affected by the heat wave have been experiencing massive wildfires, causing evacuations in Show Low, Arizona, or Dog Head, New Mexico. The fires reach as much as 10,000 acres, becoming an extreme risk for nearby residents. The Sherpa Fire, in Santa Barbara County, California, covered about 1,200, but it is near enough to become a threat in an area full of properties.
The weather just makes more difficult the job for the firefighters. “The problem is the forecast is calling for more dry weather and winds up to 30 miles an hour” on top of the extraordinary heat, Ari Sarsalari, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel stated.
Airlines are also dealing with the high temperatures. The excessive heat could represent a threat to planes during the take-off, causing the delay or cancellation of several flights. This occurs because of the combination of heat, low humidity and high altitude in many of the affected areas could make the air so light that planes would struggle taking off, NBC News aviation analyst Greg Feith told NBC Station KUSA of Denver.
The normal activity of the flights will return as soon as the temperature gets lower.
Source: ABC News