Arizona swelters in triple-digit temps as heat wave drags on

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona is in the midst of a prolonged heat wave that has produced record-high temperatures in Phoenix, prompted daily calls to the Humane Society about overheated pets and brought triple-digit temps in even typically cooler mountain locations.

Phoenix was forecast to hit 115 degrees Thursday as the city bakes in what could be a record-setting run of heat.

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The city is on track for 10 straight days of temperatures at or above 110 degrees. That would tie the record for the longest stretch of 110 and higher, set in August 2012, said Dan Leins, meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Phoenix tied a record Wednesday for the hottest June 17 of all time as it hit 114 degrees. If the temperature reaches 115 degrees Thursday, it would tie the record for that day.

Other Arizona cities are broiling as well, with Yuma expected to see even higher temperatures than Phoenix.

And there's no real escape from the heat. The temperature has been hovering above 100 degrees past 10 p.m., and even mountain cities like Sedona and Flagstaff are in the same heat wave. Sedona is forecast to have highs above 100 throughout the weekend.

The state Department of Health Services reports an average of 30 to 40 people die every year in Arizona from heat-related complications, and 1,400 suffer from heat-related illnesses. The elderly population is the most vulnerable during periods of excessive heat.

Heat-related complications include dehydration, cramps, exhaustion and heat stroke, the agency said.

"It's not uncommon to see an increase in hospital visits because people are overexerting themselves," Leins said.

Nicole Pena, the Phoenix Rescue Mission's community relations director, said people living on the streets also are at risk because temperatures continue to soar at night.

"They can't really avoid the heat," Pena said.

The organization has been active in helping Phoenix's homeless population cope through its Code Red program, which provides shelter, water, food and clothes.

People aren't the only ones affected. The Humane Society has been on call to treat animals affected by the triple-digit temperatures this week.

Arizona Humane Society spokeswoman Bretta Nelson said animals are at higher risk of heat-related complication because their bodies are closer to the ground.

The humane society is receiving a minimum of 50 calls a day, and about a third of them are related to the weather, Nelson said. Animal heat complications include exhaustion, burned paws, heat stroke and sometimes death.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press modified.

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