West Is So Hot, Planes Grounded

No end in sight to scorching triple-digit temps

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jun 30, 2013 5:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – Forecasters called for more supercharged temperatures today as a heat wave gripped the Southwest, leaving one man dead and another hospitalized in serious condition in heat-aggravated incidents in sunbaked Phoenix. US Airways canceled 18 flights yesterday over the heat; planes are certified to takeoff in up to 118 degrees, but the mercury hit 119 in Phoenix, reports CNN. Temperatures in Las Vegas shot up to 115 degrees, two degrees short of a record, while Death Valley hit 125. Death Valley's record high of 134 degrees, set nearly a century ago on July 10, 1913, stands as the planet's highest recorded temperature.

Large swaths of California sweltered under extreme heat warnings, which are expected to last into Tuesday night—and maybe longer. The oppressive heat has sent more than 40 other people to hospitals in Las Vegas since it arrived Friday, but no life-threatening injuries were reported. "We will probably start to see a rise in calls Sunday and Monday as the event prolongs," says a Las Vegas fire and rescue spokesman. The heat was so punishing that rangers took up positions at trailheads at Lake Mead in Nevada to persuade people not to hike. Zookeepers in Phoenix hosed down elephants and fed tigers frozen fish snacks, and dogs were at risk of burning their paws on scorched pavement. Some 200 people were treated yesterday at a concert in Vegas.

Construction workers gather at a new home site at sunrise to beat daytime high temperatures, Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Queen Creek, Ariz.
Construction workers gather at a new home site at sunrise to beat daytime high temperatures, Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Queen Creek, Ariz.   (Matt York)
Betty Lu Guapo, 4, cools off in the heat at the Los Angeles Fountain Thursday June 27, 2013 in Los Angeles. California prepared Thursday for a scorching weekend that could see temperatures hit 120 in the deserts as a massive heat wave rolled through the West, authorities said.
Betty Lu Guapo, 4, cools off in the heat at the Los Angeles Fountain Thursday June 27, 2013 in Los Angeles. California prepared Thursday for a scorching weekend that could see temperatures hit 120 in...   (Nick Ut)
Matthew Dayton, 6 months, is dropped into the pool by his mother Stephanie Dayton into the arms of lifeguard/swim instructor Nicolette Conrad during a Mommy and Me swim class at the Brea Plunge on Thursday, June 27, 2013, in Brea, Calif.
Matthew Dayton, 6 months, is dropped into the pool by his mother Stephanie Dayton into the arms of lifeguard/swim instructor Nicolette Conrad during a "Mommy and Me" swim class at the Brea Plunge on Thursday,...   (Bruce Chambers)
Maria Wieser, of Italy, takes a drink of water while sightseeing in Death Vally National Park, Friday, June 28, 2013 in Badwater, Calif. Excessive heat warnings will continue for much of the Desert Southwest as building high pressure triggers major warming in eastern California, Nevada, and Arizona.
Maria Wieser, of Italy, takes a drink of water while sightseeing in Death Vally National Park, Friday, June 28, 2013 in Badwater, Calif. Excessive heat warnings will continue for much of the Desert Southwest...   (Chris Carlson)
An airliner is distorted by the heat waves rising up from the north runway at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix on Friday, June 28, 2013, the hottest day of the year so far.
An airliner is distorted by the heat waves rising up from the north runway at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix on Friday, June 28, 2013, the hottest day of the year so far.   (Tom Tingle)
People play in the fountain in front of the Barrett, The Honors College building at Arizona State University campus in Tempe, Ariz. during the Tempe Bicycle Action Group swimsuit ride on Saturday, June 29, 2013. About 100 cyclists biked around the city cooling off in pools and fountains.
People play in the fountain in front of the Barrett, The Honors College building at Arizona State University campus in Tempe, Ariz. during the Tempe Bicycle Action Group swimsuit ride on Saturday, June...   (David Wallace)
Tourists hug close to misters keeping cool as they walk along The Strip during a heat wave, Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Las Vegas.
Tourists hug close to misters keeping cool as they walk along The Strip during a heat wave, Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Las Vegas.   (Julie Jacobson)
A construction worker is shown atop a roof at sunrise to beat daytime high temperatures, Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Queen Creek, Ariz. Excessive heat warnings will continue for much of the Desert Southwest as building high pressure triggers major warming in eastern California, Nevada, and Arizona. Dangerously hot temperatures...
A construction worker is shown atop a roof at sunrise to beat daytime high temperatures, Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Queen Creek, Ariz. Excessive heat warnings will continue for much of the Desert Southwest...   (Matt York)
Elephants at Utah's Hogle Zoo are cooled off with a water hose Friday, June 28, 2013, in Salt lake City. The heat wave that is gripping the western U.S. is one of the worst in years, with desert locations in the Southwest seeing temperatures approach 120 degrees.
Elephants at Utah's Hogle Zoo are cooled off with a water hose Friday, June 28, 2013, in Salt lake City. The heat wave that is gripping the western U.S. is one of the worst in years, with desert locations...   (Rick Bowmer)
A tourist stops to cool off in a misting fan while walking along The Strip, Friday, June 28, 2013 in Las Vegas.  A blazing heat wave expected to send the mercury soaring to nearly 120 degrees in Phoenix and Las Vegas settled over the West on Friday, threatening to ground...
A tourist stops to cool off in a misting fan while walking along The Strip, Friday, June 28, 2013 in Las Vegas. A blazing heat wave expected to send the mercury soaring to nearly 120 degrees in Phoenix...   (Julie Jacobson)
Michael Jackson impersonator Juan Carlos Gomez drinks some water as he takes a break from posing for photos with tourists along The Strip, Friday, June 28, 2013 in Las Vegas.   A blazing heat wave expected to send the mercury soaring to nearly 120 degrees in Phoenix and Las Vegas settled...
Michael Jackson impersonator Juan Carlos Gomez drinks some water as he takes a break from posing for photos with tourists along The Strip, Friday, June 28, 2013 in Las Vegas. A blazing heat wave expected...   (Julie Jacobson)
Malik Coleman, 6, plays in the water spray grounds at James Wiley Park near downtown on Friday, June 28, 2013, in Houston.
Malik Coleman, 6, plays in the water spray grounds at James Wiley Park near downtown on Friday, June 28, 2013, in Houston.   (Mayra Beltran)
Los Angeles Dodgers fan Josh Kohl puts a towel on his head for some relief from the heat during batting practice prior to the Dodgers' baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, June 29, 2013, in Los Angeles. Scorching heat blasted the Southwest on Saturday, and the temperature in Los...
Los Angeles Dodgers fan Josh Kohl puts a towel on his head for some relief from the heat during batting practice prior to the Dodgers' baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, June 29,...   (Mark J. Terrill)
Nine-year-old Gavyn Slykhuis cools off in the spray of a fountain at the Red Ridge Park kids water park in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Saturday's daytime high was expected to reach 117 degrees, which is the city's all-time high.
Nine-year-old Gavyn Slykhuis cools off in the spray of a fountain at the Red Ridge Park kids water park in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Saturday's daytime high was expected to reach 117 degrees,...   (Julie Jacobson)
Elvis impersonator Cristian Morales wipes sweat from his brow while standing out on The Strip posing for photos with tourists, Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Las Vegas. Morales preferred to stand out in the 112 degree heat of the day instead of working the cooler evening hours saying We'd much...
Elvis impersonator Cristian Morales wipes sweat from his brow while standing out on The Strip posing for photos with tourists, Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Las Vegas. Morales preferred to stand out in the...   (Julie Jacobson)
A Salt lake City fireman pours a cold bottle of water over the head of fireman Cary Turner after battling a house fire Thursday, June 26, 2013, in Salt lake City. Temperatures in Utah are approaching record highs and a heat advisory will be in effect for central and western...
A Salt lake City fireman pours a cold bottle of water over the head of fireman Cary Turner after battling a house fire Thursday, June 26, 2013, in Salt lake City. Temperatures in Utah are approaching...   (Rick Bowmer)
Five-year-old Ashawn Rabb runs through a fountain of water at the Red Ridge Park kids water park, Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Las Vegas.  Children with their parents stayed past sundown to cool off in the park's fountains after temperatures in Las Vegas hit 112 degrees. A high pressure system...
Five-year-old Ashawn Rabb runs through a fountain of water at the Red Ridge Park kids water park, Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Las Vegas. Children with their parents stayed past sundown to cool off in...   (Julie Jacobson)
The thermometer at the Furnace Creek resort is already at 120 degrees before noon in Death Vally National Park Friday, June 28, 2013 in Furnace Creek, Calif. Excessive heat warnings will continue for much of the Desert Southwest as building high pressure triggers major warming in eastern California, Nevada, and...
The thermometer at the Furnace Creek resort is already at 120 degrees before noon in Death Vally National Park Friday, June 28, 2013 in Furnace Creek, Calif. Excessive heat warnings will continue for...   (Chris Carlson)
Eric Varone, right, takes a picture as Floriane Golay, of Switzerland watches, in Death Vally National Park Friday, June 28, 2013 in Badwater, Calif. Excessive heat warnings will continue for much of the Desert Southwest as building high pressure triggers major warming in eastern California, Nevada, and Arizona.
Eric Varone, right, takes a picture as Floriane Golay, of Switzerland watches, in Death Vally National Park Friday, June 28, 2013 in Badwater, Calif. Excessive heat warnings will continue for much of...   (Chris Carlson)
Ten-year-old Easton Martin, of Mesa, Ariz., stops to cool off in a misting fan while walking along The Strip with his family, Friday, June 28, 2013 in Las Vegas.  A blazing heat wave expected to send the mercury soaring to nearly 120 degrees in Phoenix and Las Vegas settled over...
Ten-year-old Easton Martin, of Mesa, Ariz., stops to cool off in a misting fan while walking along The Strip with his family, Friday, June 28, 2013 in Las Vegas. A blazing heat wave expected to send...   (Julie Jacobson)
Kayla Holdridge, 6, of Eagle, is sprayed with water at Settlers Park Friday, June 28, 2013 in Meridian, Idaho. Many people looked for ways to beat the heat as temperatures in the Treasure Valley soared into the triple digits.
Kayla Holdridge, 6, of Eagle, is sprayed with water at Settlers Park Friday, June 28, 2013 in Meridian, Idaho. Many people looked for ways to beat the heat as temperatures in the Treasure Valley soared...   (Adam Eschbach)
Chris Jolley, right, of Scottsdale, runs his dog Logan through sprinklers at a local park on Saturday, June 29, 2013, in Scottsdale. Excessive heat warnings will continue for much of the Desert Southwest as building high pressure triggers major warming in eastern California, Nevada, and Arizona. Temperature's are expected to...
Chris Jolley, right, of Scottsdale, runs his dog Logan through sprinklers at a local park on Saturday, June 29, 2013, in Scottsdale. Excessive heat warnings will continue for much of the Desert Southwest...   (Rick Scuteri)
From left, Subrina Madrid, Sarah Hudak, Jennifer, Shackelford, all of North Las Vegas, Nev., sit in the shallow waters along Boulder Beach at Lake Mead, Saturday, June 29, 2013 near Boulder City, Nev. The three planned to spend the day at the lake to escape the heat in Las Vegas...
From left, Subrina Madrid, Sarah Hudak, Jennifer, Shackelford, all of North Las Vegas, Nev., sit in the shallow waters along Boulder Beach at Lake Mead, Saturday, June 29, 2013 near Boulder City, Nev....   (Julie Jacobson)
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