Excessive heat warning issued for 12 Arizona counties

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for the Phoenix Metro area, beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

12 counties are affected:

  • Maricopa from June 2, 10 a.m. to June 4, 8 p.m.
  • Mohave from June 3, 11 a.m. to June 4, 8 p.m.
  • Gila, La Paz, Yavapai, and Yuma from June 3, 12 p.m. to June 4, 8 p.m.
  • Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal, and Santa Cruz from June 3, 12 p.m. to June 4, 9 p.m.

Phoenix saw its first triple-digit degree day in late April, and temperatures passed 110°F for two consecutive days, for the first time in 2020, a week ago.

"It's pretty usual for this time of year to see this kind of heatwave, especially for the longevity of them," said Melvin Percha with the National Weather Service. "Usually, we get a dor or so, and then it goes back.

Percha says this excessive heat warning is the third one they have issued for 2020.

"We have a taste of what we see typically in the summer during these heatwaves," said Percha. "Now, in terms of what this means for this summer, you can't really draw any conclusions for these early heatwaves, but for our climate prediction center, models are tilting towards a warmer than normal summer this year."

With the high temperatures in the lower deserts, the heat risk is very high.

"It's really hard for the human body. to adjust," said Percha. "Certainly, you're talking temperature above our normal body temperature, especially if you're doing a lot of exertion or exercise outside."

Percha, however, says extreme heat is just a fact of life in the desert.

"It's just something we have to be prepared for," said Percha.

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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

Last week, an excessive heat warning was in effect for 13 Arizona counties as the Southwest experienced a heat wave and near-record temperatures.

The Salvation Army activated 12 heat-relief stations across metro Phoenix on Tuesday as forecasters warned of the potentially dangerous heat.

The Salvation Army said the relief stations would be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Apache Junction, Avondale, Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, Surprise, and Tempe.

In addition, the Salvation Army said it will send a mobile unit to locations identified as homeless encampments and areas with high homeless populations.

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.

MORE: https://azdot.gov/about/transportation-safety/severe-weather

The Associated Press contributed to this report.