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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora