The heat wave hammering much of the US West is setting records and taking its toll as air conditioners work overtime. Brush fires are a concern with Fourth of July fireworks for sale.
As expected, the heat wave ranging from southern Arizona west and north to Sacramento, Boise, and Seattle has first responders working overtime, water slides and public swimming pools crowded, and zookeepers hosing down the elephants and feeding frozen trout to the tigers.
The blistering heat appears to have caused at least one death so far: an elderly man living without air-conditioning in Las Vegas, where temperatures were expected to reach 116 degrees F.
At least seven people have been found dead in the last week in Arizona, likely tied to the brutal desert heat. Personnel were added to the border patrol search-and-rescue unit because of the danger to people trying to slip across the Mexican border, officials reported.
Temperatures hit 127 in Death Valley, Calif., Saturday and were expected to reach at least that high again Sunday. (The record there – the highest ever recorded on Earth – is 134 degrees, set in 1913.) At Furnace Creek, in Death Valley National Park, nighttime lows only dip down to the mid-90s.
Overnight temperatures remained high inland from the Pacific in California because cooling ocean breezes hadn’t wafted as far east as usual.
"We have more work than we can handle," Max Ghaly of Cathedral City Air Conditioning and Heating in Palm Springs, Calif., told CNN. "We're running all over the place trying to do what we can."
US Airways canceled 18 flights Saturday when the temperature in Phoenix inched past the 118-degree maximum for take-off.