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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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