PHOENIX - An “intense and relentless" heatwave baking much of the U.S. Southwest will continue for the next several days, forecasters warned.
The heatwave is responsible for a number of days with record-breaking heat. According to the National Weather Service in Phoenix, Phoenix reached 115°F during the afternoon of August 19, breaking the old record of 113°F that was set in 1986.
August 19 also marks the 12th day with high temperature at or above 115°F in 2020, according to NWS officials.
NWS officials say on August 18. Phoenix reached 115°F during the afternoon, breaking the old record of 112°F that was set in 2011. Earlier in the day, temperatures reached 113°F, and then 114°F.
On August 17, Phoenix reached 115°F during the afternoon hours, breaking a record set in 2013.
On August 14, Phoenix tied a record for the date with a high of 117 degrees (47 Celsius). Friday was the eighth day in 2020 with a high of at least 115 degrees (46 Celsius), beating the old record of seven days in 1974, the National Weather Service said.
On August 16 and 17, Phoenix again broke heat records.
The same high-pressure ridge over Arizona and Nevada was elevating temperatures in California, said Mike Wofford, a weather service meteorologist in Oxnard, California.
Excessive heat warnings blanketed large parts of the three states, warning of “dangerously hot conditions" with highs up to 119 degrees (48 Celsius) in some desert area until the evening of August 20.
Forecasters’ advice included limiting outdoor exposure, keeping hydrated, and checking on elderly family members and neighbors.
Preventing heat exhaustion/heat stroke
The Arizona Department of Health Services stated the following precautions can be taken to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke:
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings
- Limit outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day (mid-day)
- Check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors at least twice a day
- Drink water before, during, and after working or exercising outside
Driving in extreme temperatures
The Arizona Department of Transportation’s tips for driving in extreme temperatures include:
- Have sun protection: In addition to an umbrella, take sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat and wear loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothing.
- Fuel up: Keep your tank at three-quarters full. Running out of gas, especially in a remote location, is dangerous in extreme heat.
- Hydrate: Take a cooler to keep extra drinking water cold, and consider adding several frozen bottles of water to use for cooling off or to thaw and drink if needed. Make sure everyone, including pets, stays hydrated.
- Get help: If your vehicle breaks down in extreme heat, call for assistance right away to reduce wait time, and run the AC. If the AC isn’t working, roll down all windows.
- Wait safely: If the temperature inside your vehicle becomes too hot, everyone, including pets, should exit carefully and seek out or create a shaded area as far away from the travel lanes as possible. Be careful walking on the road surface, which can be hot enough to burn skin. Keep your shoes on and try to keep your pets’ paws off the pavement. If you are stopped along the highway, raise the front hood and turn on hazard lights. Please keep in mind that parking in tall brush can start a fire.
- Check your vehicle: You can help avoid breakdowns and blowouts by making sure your vehicle is in good operating condition. Check your air conditioner and coolant levels, top off any vital engine fluids and make sure your battery is up to par. Check your tire pressure, as the combination of under inflated tires and hot pavement can lead to a blowout.