Weekend heat wave to bake western US

Weekend heat wave to bake western US as temps in southwestern cities approach 120

Associated Press

KTLA - Los Angeles

Southern California Bakes Amid Triple-Digit Temps

Southern California Bakes Amid Triple-Digit Temps

Southern California Bakes Amid Triple-Digit Temps

Now watching

Next video starts in : 7 Play

Southern California Bakes Amid Triple-Digit Temps

Southern California Bakes Amid Triple-Digit Temps
Replay video
Up next

Community Episode 4: Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing

Community Episode 4: Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing Up next

Community Episode 4: Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing

PHOENIX (AP) -- Tigers at the Phoenix Zoo are getting frozen fish snacks. Temporary cooling stations are popping up to welcome the homeless and elderly. And airlines are monitoring the soaring temperatures to make sure it's safe to fly as the western U.S. falls into the grips of a dangerous heat wave.

A strong high-pressure system settling over the region Friday and through the weekend will bring extreme temperatures even to the typically blazing Southwest. Notoriously hot Death Valley in California is forecast to reach 129 degrees, not far off the world-record high of 134 logged there exactly one century ago.

The National Weather Service is calling for 118 in Phoenix, and 117 in Las Vegas on Sunday — a mark reached only twice in Sin City.

Temperatures are expected to soar even as far north as Reno, Nev., across Utah and into parts of Wyoming and Idaho, where forecasters are calling for triple-digit heat in the Boise area through the weekend.

Cities in Washington state better known for cool, rainy weather should break the 90s early next week, while northern Utah — marketed as having "the greatest snow on Earth" — is expected to hit triple digits. In Albuquerque, N.M., the mercury hit 105 on Thursday afternoon, the hottest it has been in the state's most populous city in 19 years.

"This is the hottest time of the year but the temperatures that we'll be looking at for Friday through Sunday, they'll be toward the top. We'll be at or above record levels in the Phoenix area and throughout a lot of the southwestern United States," said National Weather Service meteorologist Mark O'Malley. "It's going to be baking hot across much of the entire West."

Jennifer Smith, a spokeswoman for the National Interagency Fire Center based in Idaho, said crews are especially worried about wildfires igniting in the Four Corners region where the borders of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona intersect.

Some of the strongest parts of the high pressure system are expected to be parked over the area through the weekend, where forecasters are calling for lightning but little to no precipitation, Smith said.

The hottest cities are taking precautions to protect vulnerable residents. Police are pleading with drivers not to leave children or pets in vehicles, and temporary cooling stations are being put up to shelter homeless people and the elderly on fixed incomes who hesitate to use air conditioning.

Officials said extra personnel have been added to the U.S. Border Patrol's Search, Trauma, and Rescue unit as people illegally crossing the border from Mexico into Arizona could succumb to exhaustion and dehydration. At least seven people have been found dead in the last week in Arizona after falling victim to the desert's brutal heat.

Even airlines are watching the mercury for any signs that temperatures could deter operations.

In June 1990, when Phoenix hit 122 degrees, several airlines, including America West, which later merged with US Airways, were forced to cease flights for several hours because the planes didn't have the data needed to know how they would fly in temperatures above 120 degrees.

US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher said the airline's fleet of Boeings can now fly up to 126 degrees, and up to 127 degrees for the Airbus fleet.

But the company's smaller express planes flying out of the Phoenix area may be delayed if the temperature tops 118 because as the air heats up, it becomes less dense and changes liftoff conditions.

"The hotter is it, your performance is degraded," Lehmacher said. "We're monitoring this very closely to see what the temperatures do."

Officials at Salt River Project, the Phoenix area's largest electricity provider, also are closely monitoring usage in order to redirect energy in case of a potential overload.

Company spokeswoman Scott Harelson said he doesn't expect usage to get anywhere near SRP's record 6,663 megawatts consumed in August 2011.

"While it's hot, people tend to leave town and some businesses aren't open, so that has a tendency to mitigate demand and is why we typically don't set records on weekends," Harelson said.

Meanwhile, over at the Phoenix Zoo, animals from elephants to warthogs will be doused with hoses and sprayed with sprinklers and misters throughout the weekend.

The tigers will get frozen fish snacks while the lions can lounge on concrete slabs cooled by internal water-filled pipes, said zoo spokeswoman Linda Hardwick.

"And they'll all have plenty of shade," she said. "The keepers will all just be very active looking for any behavior changes, anything that would tip them off that an animal is just getting too hot."

In Las Vegas, two Elvis impersonators and a performer costumed as the iconic "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign said they still planned to keep up their routine of working the tourist corridor in the broad daylight and turning in for the evenings, heat notwithstanding.

"We'd much rather fight with the sun than fight with the drunk people," Elvis impersonator Cristian Morales said.

___

Associated Press writers Robert Jablon in Los Angeles, Julie Jacobson and Michelle Rindels in Las Vegas, Michelle Price in Salt Lake City, and Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque contributed to this report.

View Comments (98)

Recommended for You

  • Hurricane-strength winds pummel Europe, three killed in Germany

    By Michael Hogan HAMBURG (Reuters) - At least three people in Germany were killed on Tuesday when hurricane-force winds lashed across northern Europe in one of the most severe storms in years that also canceled flights, disrupted road and train traffic, and hit port operations. The Dutch…

    Reuters16 mins ago
  • United States sets official strategy for Paris climate talks

    By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Tuesday published plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, part of a strategy to generate momentum for a global agreement later this year on combating climate change. The formal…

    Reuters34 mins ago
  • Air and sea traffic disrupted as 120 km winds batter Netherlands

    Spring storms battered the Netherlands with gusts of up to 120 kilometers an hour on Tuesday, causing Amsterdam's Schiphol airport to cancel flights and the closure of two container terminals at the port of Rotterdam. Gale force winds sweeping in from the North Sea disrupted land and marine…

    Reuters
  • Heavy rains trigger flood fears in Kashmir; 17 dead

    By Fayaz Bukhari SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Heavy rains and a landslide in the Himalayan region of Kashmir killed 17 people, police said on Tuesday, as Indian authorities continued working to rescue stranded villagers, with unseasonal rains raising fears of flash floods in the mountainous north. …

    Reuters
  • Ocean warming suggests 50 percent chance of El Nino-Australia

    By Colin Packham SYDNEY (Reuters) - Recent warming of the Pacific Ocean may signal an El Nino weather event is forming, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday. Climate models indicate the central tropical Pacific Ocean is likely to continue to warm, with El Nino thresholds to be…

    Reuters
  • Vanuatu risks long-term food insecurity after monster cyclone: U.N.

    By Alisa Tang BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The monster cyclone that hit Vanuatu earlier this month wiped out more than 90 percent of the archipelago's crops, putting its people at risk of a secondary emergency and long-term food insecurity, the United Nations warned on Monday. Tropical…

    Reuters
  • Heavy rains trigger flood fears in Kashmir; six dead

    By Fayaz Bukhari SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - A landslide in the Himalayan region of Kashmir killed six people and left 10 missing, police said on Monday, as unseasonal rains swept India, damaging crops and raising fears of flash floods in the mountainous north. Hundreds of people fled their homes…

    Reuters
  • Harsh weather cripples fishing and tourism on Cameroon's coast

    By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame KRIBI, Cameroon (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - For over 15 years, Raoul Meno has been fishing the waters off the coastal town of Kribi in southern Cameroon. A bout of persistent heavy rains and surging tides this year has made fishing in Kribi increasingly difficult and…

    Reuters
  • Air Canada plane landed short, hit antennas in Halifax accident

    By Mark Blinch HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) - An Air Canada plane that suffered heavy damage in an accident in the east coast city of Halifax on Sunday landed short of the runway and hit an antenna array, losing its landing gear, safety officials said. "They touched down 1,100 feet (335 meters)…

    Reuters
  • U.S. to submit plans to fight global warming; most others delay

    By Alister Doyle and Valerie Volcovici OSLO/WASHINGTON - The United States will submit plans for slowing global warming to the United Nations early this week but most governments will miss an informal March 31 deadline, complicating work on a global climate deal due in December. The U.S.…

    Reuters
  • Modi's popularity in rural India punctured by discontent, suicides

    By Mayank Bhardwaj VAIDI, India (Reuters) - Over a dozen debt-laden farmers have committed suicide in recent weeks in India, and discontent in many rural areas against government policies is turning into anger against Prime Minister Narendra Modi less than a year after he swept into office. …

    Reuters
  • Chile desert rains sign of climate change: chief weather scientist

    By Rosalba O'Brien SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The heavy rainfall that battered Chile's usually arid north this week happened because of climate change, a senior meteorologist said, as the region gradually returns to normal after rivers broke banks and villages were cut off. "For Chile, this particular…

    Reuters
  • Mexico unveils national strategy for Paris climate talks

    By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mexico on Friday said it will cap its greenhouse gas emissions by 2026, becoming one of the first countries to formally submit its national climate plan to the United Nations ahead of a climate summit in Paris in December. Mexico's Foreign and…

    Reuters
  • Fed must take account of global economy in U.S. outlook: Yellen

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve must take the global economy into account when judging the U.S. domestic outlook, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Friday, noting that a stronger dollar buoyed by weakness abroad may restrain U.S. exports Still, she added, U.S. consumer…

    Reuters
  • In reversal, crash-hit Lufthansa agrees to two-crew in cockpit rule

    Lufthansa said on Friday it would introduce new rules requiring two crew members in cockpits at all times, a swift reversal after its CEO said such a change was not needed despite the crash at its Germanwings subsidiary. The European Union said it would now advise all EU airlines to require two…

    Reuters
  • Sierra Leone capital 'eerily quiet' amid Ebola lockdown

    By Umaru Fofana FREETOWN (Reuters) - The capital of Sierra Leone was "eerily quiet" on Friday at the start of a three-day national lockdown aimed at accelerating the end of an Ebola epidemic in the worst affected country. Liberia has just one known case left and the three countries have set a…

    Reuters
  • Lufthansa to toughen up cockpit rules

    Lufthansa said it will introduce new rules requiring two crew members to be in the cockpit at all times after one of the pilots at its Germanwings unit crashed a plane in the French Alps. Prosecutors believe Andreas Lubitz, 27, locked himself alone in the cockpit of the Airbus A320 on Tuesday and…

    Reuters
  • Poland to charge two Russian officials over Kaczynski plane crash

    Poland said on Friday it would bring charges against two Russian air traffic controllers over a 2010 plane crash which killed then Polish president Lech Kaczynski, a move likely to damage bilateral relations already strained by the Ukraine crisis. Prosecutor Ireneusz Szelag from the District…

    Reuters
  • Drought, warm weather bring 'smog day' memories in California

    By Sharon Bernstein KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (Reuters) - The brown haze over California's San Joaquin Valley breadbasket on some winter days has been an unwelcome reminder of the bad old days, when pollution hung so thickly that people were warned to stay inside. Years of tight environmental rules…

    Reuters
  • India turns to 'satellite god' for crop mapping

    By Ratnajyoti Dutta NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Sher Singh, a farmer from India's desert state of Rajasthan, prays to Varuna, the Hindu god of water, for a bountiful harvest. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to promote a "per drop, more crop" approach to farming to make better use of scarce water,…

    Reuters