Heat wave hits Southwest on 1st day of summer

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Heat wave hits Southwest on 1st day of summer
Heat wave hits Southwest on 1st day of summer

PHOENIX (AP) – Don Kushner emerged from his afternoon hike on Camelback Mountain clearly a little run down from the heat.

Kushner was one of the few who ignored warnings to avoid strenuous outdoor activity and decided to exercise outside on one of the hottest days in Phoenix’s recorded history.

“Here it’s your own private mountain and it’s wonderful,” he said, covered in sweat Tuesday.

Phoenix authorities issued several warnings about the dangers of the heat. Phoenix park ranger Chris Webb said she saw about a dozen hikers on Camelback Mountain in the afternoon hours.

“I would recommend that people do something less strenuous than to come out to the toughest hike in Phoenix in the middle part of the day,” she said. “Maybe go swimming. Maybe do something indoors instead.”

The first day of summer brought some of the worst heat the southwestern U.S. region has seen in years.

Meteorologists said Tuesday’s temperature in Phoenix topped out at 119 degrees, a mark that’s only been matched or surpassed four other times in the city’s recorded history. The all-time high was 122 degrees on June 26, 1990.

Death Valley, California, reached 127 Tuesday and Palm Springs hit 122, tying the degree for the same day last year.

The heat wave comes amid new research findings that nearly 1 in 3 people now experience 20 days a year when the heat reaches deadly levels.

The study of nearly 2,000 deadly heat waves worldwide since 1980 was published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Workers at a construction site in a Phoenix suburb huddled under the shade of an excavator during a break. At another building site, men in hard hats and yellow vests labored and sweated in the heat, downing water to stay hydrated.

Las Vegas also baked. Visitors tried to stay inside air-conditioned casinos, and some tourists lugged packs of bottled water around the Strip. Others went to a bar where the temperature is set at 23 degrees (-5 Celsius) and glasses, walls and seats are sculpted from ice.

Tonya and Lavonda Williams traveled from Orlando, Florida, to Sin City to see the Backstreet Boys in concert. Walking on the Strip in 112 degrees was too much to handle, even for people accustomed to heat.

“This is like the oven door is open,” Lavonda Williams said as the sisters walked from a pedestrian bridge into The Palazzo casino-resort.

“It’s too hot to even drink alcohol,” Tonya Williams added.

In Phoenix, hundreds flocked to Grace Lutheran Church for water and refuge.

“We have homeless people come from a long way to sit here,” longtime volunteer Moses Elder said. “There are other spots where you can go get cold water and sit down and cool off, but there are few places you can lay down and get something to eat.”

Arizona Public Service Company, the state’s largest electricity provider, says customers set a record peak usage Tuesday as temperatures in Phoenix soared to nearly 120 degrees.

Over 7,300 megawatts of energy were consumed between 5 and 6 p.m., topping the prior 11-year record set in 2006.

In the Southwest U.S., this week’s heat has caused a handful of problems.

In addition to grounding more than 40 flights of smaller planes, airlines have been taking other measures on larger jets to reduce their weight.

American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said the carrier began limiting sales on some flights to prevent the planes from exceeding maximum weight for safe takeoff in the hot conditions.

The main burn center in Phoenix warned people to be careful around car interiors and pavement and with their pets.

About 50 people went a PetSmart store in a Phoenix suburb Tuesday to receive free elastic booties to put on their pets’ paws so they don’t burn on concrete and pavement.

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Associated Press writers Regina Garcia-Cano in Las Vegas and Josh Hoffner contributed to this report.

Xaviere Coleman pours water over his head to cool off in a Wookiee costume along the Las Vegas Strip, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Las Vegas. Coleman was taking a break from posing for photographs with tourists. The first day of summer is forecast to bring some of the worst heat the southwestern U.S. has seen in years. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman shields herself from the sun while walking along the Las Vegas Strip, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Las Vegas. The first day of summer is forecast to bring some of the worst heat the southwestern U.S. has seen in years. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People shield themselves from the sun while walking along the Las Vegas Strip, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Las Vegas. The first day of summer is forecast to bring some of the worst heat the southwestern U.S. has seen in years. (AP Photo/John Locher)
One person uses the CityScape splash pad to stay cool as temperatures climb to near-record highs Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Phoenix. The National Weather Service forecasts a high of 120 degrees (49 degrees Celsius), which is has only hit three times in recorded history in Phoenix, the last time 22 years ago. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A local temperature sign reads 120-degrees as temperatures climb to near-record highs Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Phoenix. The National Weather Service forecasts a high of 120 degrees (49 degrees Celsius), which is has only hit three times in recorded history in Phoenix, the last time 22 years ago. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Seats glow in sunlight at Dodger Stadium, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Los Angeles. The first day of summer brought some of the worst heat the Southwest U.S. has seen in years, forcing flights to be canceled, straining the power grid and making life miserable for workers toiling in temperatures that reached 120 degrees in some desert cities. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
At Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport American Airlines regional jets sit on the tarmac as American Airlines says seven regional flights have been delayed and 43 have been canceled because of a heat wave as temperatures climb to near-record highs Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
At Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, departure signs show regional jet cancellations and American Airlines says seven regional flights have been delayed and 43 have been canceled because of a heat wave as temperatures climb to near-record highs Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Chris Mitchell pours water over his head to cool off in a Darth Vader costume along the Las Vegas Strip, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Las Vegas. Mitchell was taking a break from posing for photographs with tourists. The first day of summer is forecast to bring some of the worst heat the southwestern U.S. has seen in years. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Julio Ruiz, left, who together with his father runs J.R.R. Roofing, hands a drink to one of his crew members replacing the shingles on house in Tucson, Ariz., Tuesday, June 20, 2017. The first day of summer was expected to bring some of the worst heat the Southwest U.S. has seen in years, forcing flights to be canceled, straining the power grid and making life miserable for workers toiling in temperatures that could reach 120 degrees in Phoenix. (Rick Wiley/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
Julio Ruiz of J.R.R. Roofing pauses in the heat while he and his crew remove old roofing on a house, as the temperature pushes 115-degrees in Tucson, Ariz. on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. Ruiz said they had been working since 5:30am and had to finish putting down a layer of felt in case of monsoon rain. The Tucson area is under an excessive heat warning for the remainder of the week. (Rick Wiley/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
Robert Vasquez, a crew member building the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, adds electrolytes power to his water to keep hydrated and stay cool as temperatures climb to near-record highs Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Crew members building the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, Art Singleterry, left, helps Paul Anger, right, soaking a neck towel as Anger tries to stay cool as temperatures climb to near-record highs Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Victor Giles, a crew member building the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, sits in an air conditioned cab of a truck as he keeps hydrated while trying to stay cool as temperatures climb to near-record highs, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Crew members building the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway take a break as they try to keep hydrated and stay cool as temperatures climb to near-record highs Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Crew members Yaw Dauh, right, and James Arthur, left, building the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway keep hydrated and stay cool as temperatures climb to near-record highs Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Jennifer Boushy, left, and Jennifer Rellinger, right, cool off their dogs in water at a dog park, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Las Vegas. The first day of summer is forecast to bring some of the worst heat the southwestern U.S. has seen in years. (AP Photo/John Locher)
An American Airlines grounds crew member at Sky Harbor International Airport walks on the tarmac, Tuesday, June 20, 2017 in Phoenix. Phoenix hit a high of 118 on Monday with an excessive heat warning in place until Saturday. (AP Photo/Matt York
Dana Wheeler, a civil engineer with Integra Engineering, wraps a wet headband around his head to combat the heat, Tuesday, June 20, 2017 in Tempe, Ariz. Phoenix hit a high of 118 on Monday with an excessive heat warning in place until Saturday. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Heat waves ripple across the tarmac at Sky Harbor International Airport as downtown Phoenix stands in the background as an airplane lands, Tuesday, June 20, 2017 in Phoenix. Phoenix hit a high of 118 on Monday with an excessive heat warning in place until Saturday. (AP Photo/Matt York)
A crew from Juarez Construction sits under their excavator during a break to avoid the heat, Tuesday, June 20, 2017 in Tempe, Ariz. Phoenix hit a high of 118 on Monday with an excessive heat warning in place until Saturday. (AP Photo/Matt York)
An American Airlines grounds crew member at Sky Harbor International Airport puts on a wet hat to combat the heat, Tuesday, June 20, 2017 in Phoenix. Phoenix hit a high of 118 on Monday with an excessive heat warning in place until Saturday. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Dana Wheeler, a civil engineer with Integra Engineering, wraps a wet headband around his head to combat the heat, Tuesday, June 20, 2017 in Tempe, Ariz. Phoenix hit a high of 118 on Monday with an excessive heat warning in place until Saturday. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Jennifer Boushy pours water to cool off her dog Rufus, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Las Vegas. The first day of summer is forecast to bring some of the worst heat the southwestern U.S. has seen in years. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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