Phoenix hits 118 as heat wave scorches the Southwest US

AP News
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Posted: Jun 19, 2016 9:37 PM
Phoenix hits 118 as heat wave scorches the Southwest US

PHOENIX (AP) — In a desert city used to triple-digit temperatures, some hunker down inside and some head to the pool, while others still want to hit Phoenix's many hiking trails. But with temperatures creeping above 115 degrees during a heat wave boiling parts of the Southwest, that decision can have deadly consequences.

The mercury made a quick ascent Sunday for a high of 118, breaking a record of 115 set nearly 50 years ago, according to the National Weather Service. It tied for the fifth-hottest day ever in Phoenix.

Portions of Arizona and southeast California were expected to keep getting scorched Monday with a high-pressure ridge lifting out of Mexico. The weather service forecast similar temperatures in Phoenix before they drop to 113 Tuesday and stay below 115 the rest of the week.

For those who want to brave the outdoors, going out early won't always save you. A 28-year-old woman and two friends set out mountain biking around 6 a.m. in north Phoenix and carried water, but she became exhausted about three hours later and then could not breathe.

Firefighters rescued the unidentified woman, who was an avid hiker and a personal trainer, and she later died at a hospital, fire Capt. Larry Subervi said. She had no known medical issues, and her condition appeared to be heat-related, authorities said.

Her death comes a day after a 25-year-old Phoenix man died of heat exposure while hiking in neighboring Pinal County.

Phoenix didn't reach 120 as forecasters said was possible, but Yuma, in the southwestern corner of the state, did. Plus, weather service meteorologist Andrew Deemer said he had "no doubt there are places in the Valley that hit 120 or so."

On social media, residents commiserated by posting photos of boiling temperature readings on car thermometers and cellphones.

Some ventured outside for quick errands. Kim Leeds, 28, had to take her dog Bo outside in the early afternoon for a bathroom break. The Australian shepherd wears special booties with rubber bottoms.

"He does really well with them. He doesn't mind walking around," Leeds said.

Preparing to enter her fourth summer in Phoenix, Leeds also decided to experiment with her car.

"I'm totally reveling in this experience because I'm actually baking cookies in my car," Leeds said. "I've been here long enough that I've got to do these things."

Others took advantage of discounts at Phoenix-area resorts, where summer can be the slow season.

Hotel guests got an early start at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa as temperatures climbed. Several guests swam in the pool and sat under umbrellas sipping water and other iced drinks to cool off.

Southern Californians also posted competing photos on Facebook and Instagram of their soaring thermometers as the last day of spring brought summerlike temperatures to the region.

Burbank and Glendale, just north of downtown Los Angeles, soared past 100 degrees by midday, the weather service said. Burbank saw a record 107 degrees.

The heat was no help to firefighters who had to work to put out a wildfire in a Los Angeles neighborhood, where densely packed homes were briefly in danger.

Further northwest in the San Fernando Valley, some thermometers were reading close to 110 degrees, and Palm Springs in the inland desert hit 116.

The heat spurred state regulators to urge residents to voluntarily cut their consumption of electricity Monday. It didn't yet bring the rolling blackouts that might Southern Californians have been told to expect this summer after a massive natural gas leak.

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Associated Press writers Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles and Anna Johnson contributed to this report.

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Follow Terry Tang at https://twitter.com/ttangAP .