News / USA

Heat Records Fall as US West Bakes

Sara Calcinaro (L) and Marco Rizzelli of Italy walk in the Mesquite Dunes as high temperatures approach record levels in Death Valley National Park, California Jun. 29, 2013.Sara Calcinaro (L) and Marco Rizzelli of Italy walk in the Mesquite Dunes as high temperatures approach record levels in Death Valley National Park, California Jun. 29, 2013.
x
Sara Calcinaro (L) and Marco Rizzelli of Italy walk in the Mesquite Dunes as high temperatures approach record levels in Death Valley National Park, California Jun. 29, 2013.
Sara Calcinaro (L) and Marco Rizzelli of Italy walk in the Mesquite Dunes as high temperatures approach record levels in Death Valley National Park, California Jun. 29, 2013.
Reuters
Dozens of people were treated for heat-related ailments, and cities and towns across the western United States took emergency measures to help residents cool off, as the region sweltered on Saturday in dangerous triple-digit temperatures.

At least one heat-related death was reported by authorities in Las Vegas, where a man in his 80s was found dead inside a house that had no air-conditioning.

The victim suffered from other medical issues, but paramedics suspect heat was a contributing factor in his death, said Las Vegas Fire and Rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski.

"It's not unusual for people with medical conditions, their problems worsen when it gets really hot," he said.

Extreme heat enveloped most of California and Nevada and parts of southern Arizona, with a large high-pressure system trapping hot air across the area, National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Lericos said.

"It involves pretty much the entire West Coast at this point," Lericos said, adding that the stifling conditions, which began in some areas on Thursday afternoon, would likely continue through the weekend and linger into next week.

Triple-digit temperatures extended as far east as Texas, with Corpus Christi shattering its all-time high with a reading of 107 Fahrenheit (42 Celsius). In Utah, Salt Lake City hit 105F (41C) at the airport, a record high for the date.

In Los Angeles County, many people have been hospitalized or treated for dehydration, exhaustion and heat stroke, county Fire Department spokesman Keith Mora said.

At an outdoor concert in Las Vegas on Friday, 34 people were taken to the hospital after succumbing to the heat, and another 170 suffered nausea and fatigue.

An elderly man who been driving through Las Vegas with no air-conditioning was found suffering from heat stroke and was hospitalized in serious condition after he pulled off a highway and called for help, Szymanski said.

Precautions were taken for athletes and animals alike.

The annual Running with the Devil Marathon scheduled for Saturday in the Mojave Desert outside of Las Vegas, a competition in which runners are deliberately "challenged to contend with high heat," was canceled.

Tigers at the Phoenix Zoo were fed frozen trout, the monkeys were getting frozen yogurt to eat, and lions and other animals were lounging on artificial rocks and slabs of concrete cooled by piped water, said Linda Hardwick, a zoo spokeswoman.

Beating the Heat

In California, Nevada and Arizona, air-conditioned "cooling centers" were set up in community centers, homeless shelters and libraries, and officials warned residents to avoid prolonged exposure to the searing temperatures.

Prompted by concerns that migrants trying to cross into the United States from Mexico would die in the desert, additional border agents were posted on the U.S. side, said Brent Cagen, a spokesman for the Tucson sector of the U.S. Border Patrol.

At least three people, maybe more, who attempted to illegally cross the border into Arizona were found dead earlier this week, likely succumbing to the heat, Cagen said.

The scorching temperatures can cause potentially fatal heat stroke, and officials said people with no air-conditioning or who must work outdoors were particularly at risk.

Las Vegas on Saturday flirted with its all-time record of 117F (47C), as the mercury rose to 114F (46C) at the airport, said D.J. Hoffman, a meteorologist for private forecaster AccuWeather.com.

Record highs for the day fell in dozens of cities across the West, from Palm Springs to Oakland in California and on up the West Coast to Medford, Oregon.

The weather was forecast to remain hot on Sunday, with highs expected to reach 116F (47C) in Phoenix and 110F (43C) in Tucson, Arizona, Hoffman said.

"If people are used to the heat out West, this is a bit abnormal for them and even if they are used to it, it's still very dangerous," he said.

In Phoenix, emergency shelters are temporarily adding 150 beds in an effort to safeguard hundreds of homeless.

"Phoenix is a major city with a lot of concrete that tends to hold a lot of that heat in, so it's just like you're in a dry sauna," said Irene Agustin of the Central Arizona Shelter Services non-profit in Phoenix.

Officials in Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas, said they have installed 13 air-conditioned areas in community centers and homeless shelters, though the majority of them would be closed on Sunday. In 2005, roughly 17 people died during a similar heat wave over a 10-day period in the Las Vegas area.

Firefighters worry about dry conditions, which have ignited several major brush fires across the region recently, and about more blazes ignited by wayward fireworks launched from backyards to commemorate the Fourth of July holiday on Thursday.

Dan Kail, 67, was on vacation in sweltering Las Vegas when he heard about even higher temperatures in California's Death Valley.

He hopped in a rental car and made the 2-1/2 hour drive, yearning to feel air that he later described as a "blast furnace."

"I've never experienced that kind of heat," said Kail, who owns parking lots in Pittsburgh. "It almost burns you as it blows by you. It's amazing."

Death Valley posted a high on Saturday of 124F (51C), the National Weather Service reported. That's below the all-time world record of 134F (57C) set there on July 10, 1913, according to the National Park Service.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More