February 21, 2024

Phoenix tied for 18th consecutive day over 110 degrees as the US Southwest swelters under a deadly heat wave


Phoenix hit 110 degrees again Monday for the 18th straight day at or above that temperature as the Southwest grapples with a deadly, unrelenting heat wave.

The record is expected to be broken on Tuesday as the streak continues, with temperatures of at least 115 degrees in the forecast for Phoenix every day through next weekend.

As temperatures continue to scorch triple digits, Phoenix has recorded 12 confirmed heat-related deaths just for the first week of July, bringing the total to 55 heat-related deaths so far this year, according to the report. details from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. CNN has contacted the Maricopa medical examiner for more information.

Heat is the biggest killer of all natural disasters, studies show, and as temperatures continue to rise, scientists expect it to make more people sick.

As residents turn up their air conditioners this heat wave, Arizona Public Service utility customer demand on Saturday set the record for the most electricity used at one time in the utility’s history, according to a news release from the company.

Phoenix has a total of 60 hydration stations, 30 cooling centers and four relief centers for those who need heat relief, Kelly Taft, director of communications for the Maricopa Association of Governments, told CNN.

This is not just Arizona sweltering in the intense heat: Over 90 million people are under heat advisories across the United States, including at least 50 million who were under heat warnings in the past 10 days.

Heat warnings have been issued for dangerously high temperatures in the Southwest – stretching from Texas to Arizona – for 38 consecutive days dating back to June 10.

More than 1,500 record high temperatures have been recorded in the United States so far this month, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

More than 35 daily high temperature records were broken on Sunday alone, according to the National Weather Service, with Death Valley, California, breaking a daily record of 128 degrees and Las Vegas breaking its record with 116 degrees.

Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; El Paso, Corpus Christi and Brownsville, Texas; and Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida, have their warmest Julys on record so far, according to NOAA climate data.

El Paso reached 100 degrees for 32nd straight day, “with no end in sight,” the weather service tweeted. The previous record for consecutive days over 100 was 23 in 1994.

Arizona’s heat has led to an increase in hospitalizations at Valleywise Health Medical Center, emergency room physician Frank LoVecchio told CNN, adding that he has seen 3 to 4 cases per transfer of patients who have died. without emergency treatment.

“The heat is taking a toll,” LoVecchio said. “The hospital has not been that busy when it’s overflowing with a few peaks in the Covid pandemic.”

A body temperature of 107 or higher can lead to death or permanent brain damage. LoVecchio said it could take as little as five or 10 minutes for a brain cell to die at these high temperatures.

Valleywise Health Medical Center Communications Director Michael Murphy told CNN that in severe cases, they are putting patients in body bags packed with ice to help cool them down, adding that the burn center and patients with contact burns.

LoVecchio said a path in the sun can reach up to 180 degrees. Patients may fall on the pavement due to dehydration, heat stroke or another medical condition, he said.

“It doesn’t cool down here at all and the surface temperature can get so ridiculously high that people can get burns in a matter of seconds,” Murphy said.

For the past five years, Murphy said contact burns have been a “big problem”.

Everyone is susceptible to heat injuries, including those who have lived in Arizona their entire lives, said Maricopa County Public Health Department spokeswoman Sonia Singh.

“It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in the heat, how old you are or how healthy you are,” Singh said. “It affects everyone.”

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