NWS: Excessive Heat Warning issued for 14 Arizona counties

An Excessive Heat Warning issued for 14 Arizona counties has been extended, with a record-breaking high of 118° F in Phoenix on Thursday.

Fourteen of Arizona's 15 counties are included in the warning, which is scheduled to expire on June 20 at 8 p.m.

  • Coconino
  • Cochise
  • Gila
  • Graham
  • Greenlee
  • La Paz
  • Maricopa
  • Mohave
  • Navajo
  • Pima
  • Pinal
  • Santa Cruz
  • Yavapai
  • Yuma

Apache County is not included in the warning.

MORE: Maricopa County announces year's first heat death

The excessive heat warning prompted health officials in Arizona to reschedule outdoor COVID-19 vaccination operations, fire officials to rotate crews working major blazes and the U.S. Border Patrol to issue reminders about the dangers of crossing the desert.

The warning issued by the National Weather Service for high temperatures of up to 118 degrees (47.7 C) for desert areas of south-central Arizona began on June 12.

The warning "means that a period of very hot temperatures, even by local standards, will occur," the weather bureau in Phoenix said.

Forecasters said people should try to stay indoors, drink more water than usual, and check on family, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly.

Heat warnings and advisories also were issued for large parts of California, Nevada and New Mexico — where the city of Las Cruces opened cooling stations for residents and, particularly, the elderly and people at high risk for heat-related illness.

The Salvation Army announced Friday it would activate 11 heat relief stations in metro Phoenix where people can get water and cool off in buildings with air conditioning.

Salvation Army personnel also will deliver water to people living nearby, and the organization will send a mobile hydration unit to homeless encampments, officials said.

Additional hydration stations will be operated by local governments and nonprofits at libraries, public pools, churches and other community sites in the Phoenix area.

Arizona Public Service announced it is teaming up with local organizations to provide heat-relief assistance for the state's most vulnerable populations.

APS will work with groups like The Foundation for Senior Living, St. Vincent de Paul, The Salvation Army, and Solari, Inc. They will offer assistance with air-conditioning repairs and replacements, emergency shelters, eviction protection, hydration stations, and transportation.

The program runs through September.

Because of the forecast midday heat in Tucson, mobile COVID-19 vaccination units will change their hours, operating Saturday through Monday for four hours beginning at 7 a.m. and then again for three hours beginning at 7 p.m., Pima County officials said.

That’s to avoid subjecting clients, workers and volunteers to the expected temperatures of over 105 degrees (40.5 C) for sustained periods, officials said.

The Phoenix Fire Department said high temperatures already are a concern for crews fighting large fires.

Firefighters on Thursday took turns using hoses and ladder-mounted cannons to fight a fire at a metal recycling yard that took hours to extinguish, with firefighters rotating off to drink water and cool down, the department said.

St. Mary's Food Bank announced it is in need of water donations with the high temperatures on the way. They are in need of donations to help the hydration need for more than 700 agency partners they work with.

If you're interested in helping, you can make a donation of $10 which will provide three cases of water for those in need during the Excessive Heat Warning.

To donate, visit firstfoodbank.org.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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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.

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

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