TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A heat wave in large parts of the West and Southwest has many scattering for reprieve from the sun.
In places like Arizona, the triple-digit temperatures are a way of life, but many still seek ways to escape it. Most are also equipped with cold air conditioning.
The heat wave is scorching Seattle and much of the Pacific Northwest, too. Temperatures are expected to reach to the lower 90s in the city this weekend - and owning air conditioning is not the norm in Seattle.
GET UP HIGH
Just outside of the Tucson city boundary is the coveted Mount Lemmon, the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains, reaching over 9,000 feet of elevation at its peak.
Christy Robertson and her family decided Mount Lemmon was the best place to escape the heat while also exploring the outdoors.
Robertson and other adults had six children with them during a hike at one of the mountain trails. She said her family wants the kids to stay active during the summer and that Mount Lemmon is one of the few places they could do that in southern Arizona.
"You can go to a swimming pool, to a splash pad, but they're a lot more packed," Robertson said. "I think we want our kid to grow up loving being outside."
Kim Deyo, of Tucson, said she and her husband and two kids go camping in Mount Lemmon to avoid the heat. The family was returning from a two-day camping trip.
"It's cooler, it's close. It gets the kids out from in front of the TV," Deyo said.
SOMETIMES IT'S COOLER OUTSIDE
The 2013 American Housing Survey says about two-thirds of residences in the U.S. have central air conditioning, but only 15.9 percent of homes have it in the metropolitan areas of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett.
That means many Seattle residents instead turn outside to escape oppressive indoor heat. Children frolic at a large fountain close to the Space Needle. Students at the University of Washington often form canoe flotillas on Lake Washington and swim in throngs. Others in Seattle paddle kayaks or ride boats on city lakes and Puget Sound — bodies of water that divide and border the city.
Rey Lopez, president of the kayak and paddleboard rental Agua Verde Paddle Club in Seattle, said as soon as the weather turns to summer, he can see up to a thousand customers a day. He said people are increasingly into stand-up paddleboards because they're easy to jump off on hot days.
Above all, people in high heat areas should be extra cautious and take measures to stay safe.
Authorities say drinking large amounts of water - especially before becoming thirsty - is crucial to staying hydrated.
Pets are also at risk with high temperatures. A bowl of water doesn't always suffice, and some vets say filling a kiddie pool with water for outdoor pets is a better option.
IF YOU CAN'T BEAT IT, JOIN IT
Doug Traub, a Lake Havasu City resident, said the obvious draw to cool down is the lake, scuba diving, relaxing on a boat, jet skiing or floating around on a tube. The temperature in the western Arizona city is expected to hit 115 degrees this weekend.
He said many businesses around town have water for customers, and residents avoid running or exercising between dawn and dusk.
"People like me, say 'bring it on.' You think this is hot? This is nothing."
Walker Orenstein reported from Seattle; Felicia Fonseca from Flagstaff.