Scorching heat maintains its grip on the U.S. Southwest as records fall and forecasts reach triple digits

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The first heat wave of the year maintained its grip on the southwest United States Friday, a day after records fell in the region as temperatures topped 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) from California to Arizona.

Although the official start of summer is still two weeks away, about half of Arizona and Nevada were under an excessive heat warning, which the National Weather Service extended through Friday evening. The alert was extended until Saturday in Las Vegas, where it has never been so hot at the start of the year.

Temperatures are expected to slowly recede over the weekend, but will remain above normal until early next week.

After setting a new record of 111 F (43.8 C) on Thursday – which also happens to be the first period of the year where the high reached at least 110 (43.3 C) – Las Vegas quickly broke a another record early Friday afternoon reaching 110 F (48.3 C). C) and surpassed the record for the day set in 2013. And the National Weather Service office said it could get even hotter before sunset.

In Phoenix, the new record of 113 F (45 C) on Thursday surpassed the old mark of 111 F (44 C) set in 2016. Forecasters called conditions “dangerously hot.”

“It’s so hot,” said Eleanor Wallace, 9, who was visiting Phoenix from northern Utah on Thursday on a hike to celebrate her birthday with her mother, Megan Wallace.

In an interview with the AP, Frank Pereira, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said temperatures from southeastern California to Arizona will be slightly cooler after today, but it will still be extremely hot.

There were no immediate reports of heat-related deaths or serious injuries.

But at a campaign rally Thursday for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Phoenix, 11 people became ill from heat exhaustion late in the afternoon and were taken to a hospital, where they were treated and released, firefighters said. Trump is expected to hold another rally on Sunday at a Las Vegas park, where the high that day is expected to reach 104 F (40 C).

The National Weather Service expects a slight cooling across the region this weekend, but only by a few degrees. In central and southern Arizona and parts of southern Nevada, this will still mean temperatures in the triple digits, or even up to 110 F (43 C).

Several other areas of Arizona, California and Nevada also broke records Thursday by a degree or two, including Death Valley National Park with a record for the date of 122 F (50 C ), exceeding 121 F (49.4 C) dating back to 1996. In the desert located 59 meters below sea level, near the California-Nevada line. The archives date from 1911.

The heat has arrived weeks earlier than usual, even In places further north, at higher altitudes, areas are typically a dozen degrees colder. That includes Reno, where the normal high of 81 F (27 C) for this time of year reached a record 98 F (37 C) on Thursday. The archives date from 1888.

Unseasonably warm weather in Phoenix on Thursday didn’t stop Oscar Tomasio of Cleveland, Ohio, from proposing to his girlfriend, Megan McCracken, as they headed to the top of a trail on Camelback Mountain with 3 liters of water each in tow.

“It was a grueling hike,” Tomasio told the Associated Press. “It was really hot, so we started really early.”

“The views were magnificent. We didn’t make it to the top because she was a little nervous because of the heat,” he said. “So I proposed to her when the sun came up.”

McCracken confirmed they had planned a sunrise hike and woke up around 5 a.m. to try to beat the heat and impending trail closure.

“Probably not soon enough,” she said.


Associated Press writers Anita Snow and Ty O’Neil in Phoenix, Rio Yamat and Ken Ritter in Las Vegas, and MK Wildeman in Hartford, Connecticut, contributed to this report.

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