NWS: Phoenix reaches 117F, ties temperature record set back in 2015

Phoenix has tied a temperature record set back in 2015, according to the National Weather Service.

According to the agency, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport reached 117°F during the afternoon hours of August 14.

High temperatures are expected to be the norm through Monday across much of Arizona.

Heat-related deaths mount

With the extreme heat, it also means heat-related deaths are also adding up.

Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, and because Phoenix is one of the hottest cities in the country, that number is a lot higher for the Valley, in comparison to other places.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health has confirmed 25 heat deaths so far in 2020 In addition, over 200 cases remain under investigation as heat-related deaths, surpassing 2019's numbers.

The homeless population are most vulnerable to these extreme temperatures.

"We don’t think about it. We get to go into our cars cool off. We get to go into our houses and cool off, but they don’t, and there is not a break in the action even at night. When it’s in the 90s, your body isn’t cooling down," said David Yardley with the Salvation Army.

With the extreme temperatures, cooling stations and mobile units are in full effect. 

"For Salvation Army, this means we activate our heat relief cooling stations and mobile units," said Yardley.

Salvation Army's mobile units moving near bus stations and homeless encampments to provide water and other goodies.

"Hawaiian chips and then, of course, we always do two bottles of water, but if they want to take more, they can always request," said Yardley, who went on to say they have served over 44,000 water bottles on excessive heat days. That number will continue to climb, and they are expected to remain busy over the next week.

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

Rain/flood safety tips

The American Red Cross' tips for heavy rain situations and flood safety:

Turnaround don’t drown! If you must drive and you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go another way.

If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.

Tune in to your local radio, NOAA radio, or news channels for the latest updates.

If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly.

Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe.

If power lines are down, do not step in puddles or standing water.

If power is out, use a flashlight. Do not use any open flame as alternate lighting.

Preparing for a severe thunderstorm 

The American Red Cross' tips for preparing for a severe thunderstorm:

Put together an emergency kit.

Know your community’s evacuation plan.

Create a household disaster plan and practice it.

Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank radio

Discuss thunderstorm safety with members of your household. Be aware that a thunderstorm could produce flooding.

Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be a place where there are no windows, skylights, or glass doors, which could be broken by strong winds or hail and cause damage or injury.

Salvation Army Emergency Heat Relief Stations

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.