Las Vegas –
Tourists in Las Vegas on Friday briefly stepped outside to take pictures but were exposed to furnace air. But most people spend their vacations in a very different climate. At the casino, cold air conditioning may require a light sweater.
Meanwhile, dehydrated construction workers, fainting elderly residents and others have suffered an intense heat wave that threatens to break the city’s all-time high of 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47.2 degrees Celsius) this weekend. And the emergency care doctors were witnessing another world.
Few places in the scorching Southwest exhibit the surreal contrast of indoor and outdoor life quite like Las Vegas, a neon-lit city full of resorts, casinos, pools, indoor nightclubs and shopping. Tens of millions of others in California and the Southwest were also scrambling to find ways to stay cool and safe from the perils of the scorching heat.
“We’ve been talking about this building heatwave all week, and now the most intense period is beginning,” the National Weather Service said Friday.
Nearly one-third of Americans have received heat advisories, alerts, and warnings. Severe heatwaves are projected to get worse in Nevada, Arizona and California this weekend, with desert temperatures soaring above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.8 degrees Celsius) for parts of the day It is expected to stay at 90 degrees (above 32.2 degrees Celsius). )One night.
Sergio Cajamarca, his family and his dog, Max, were among those lined up for photos in front of the city’s iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. By noon the temperature was already over 100°F (37.8°C).
“I love the city, especially at night. It’s just hot,” said Cajamarca, 46, an electrician in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
His daughter, Cathy Zagui, 20, told me of her comfort food recipe: “Maybe it’s just water and ice cream, just staying home.”
A meteorologist in Las Vegas warned people not to underestimate the danger. The Las Vegas National Weather Service tweeted, “This heat wave is not a typical desert heat due to its long duration, extremely high daytime temperatures, and warm nights. “Everybody needs to take this heat seriously.” .
On Friday, the city of Phoenix recorded temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) for the 15th straight day, reaching 116 degrees Fahrenheit (46.6 degrees Celsius) by late afternoon, the longest such heat ever recorded. embarked on a trajectory to break the The record was set in 1974 for 18 days.
“This weekend is going to be one of the most severe and hot conditions we’ve ever seen,” said David Hondura, the city’s chief heat officer. “I think it’s time for the community to be on maximum alert.”
The heat is expected to continue into next week as a high pressure system moves west from Texas.
“We now have a lot of heat-related illnesses, dehydration and heat exhaustion,” says Dr. Ashkan Morim, who works in the ER at Dignity Health Siena Hospital outside Henderson.
Morim said this week he treated a tourist who had become severely dehydrated after drinking too long by the pool. A stranded hiker who needed liters of fluid to recuperate. A man in his 70s fell and was stranded at home for seven hours until rescue arrived. The man kept the thermostat in his home at 26.7 degrees Celsius and was worried about his electricity bill as the air conditioner was running all the time to cope with the high temperatures at night.
Las Vegas community health officials launched a new database on Thursday to report “heat-induced” and “heat-related” deaths in the city and surrounding Clark County from April through October.
The Southern Nevada Health District has announced that seven people have died since April 11, with a total of 152 deaths from heat stroke last year.
Besides casinos, air-conditioned public libraries, police station lobbies and other locations from Texas to California were scheduled to open to the public for at least part of the day. In Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city, splash pads were open for extended hours and many public pools offered free admission. In Boise, Idaho, churches and other nonprofits provided water, sunscreen, and shelter.
While the temperatures were less severe closer to the Pacific coast, it was still a sweaty day on the picket line in the Los Angeles area. There, the actors joined the writers in a strike against the producers.
The California State Fair kicked off in Sacramento, where organizers canceled a planned horse racing event over concerns about animal safety.
Employers cautioned that outdoor workers should stay cool with water, shade and regular breaks.
Pet owners were encouraged to keep their animals mostly indoors. “Dogs are susceptible to heat stroke and can literally die within minutes. Leave them alone in air-conditioned homes,” says David Simansky, parks manager at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. said in a statement.
Meanwhile, wildfire season is in full swing amid hot, dry conditions, with a series of wildfires raging across California this week, Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot said at a news conference.
Global climate change is “supercharging” heatwaves, Crowfoot added.
Stefan Grigorevich, a software engineer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who is visiting Las Vegas for the first time, said he won’t ruin his vacation by staying hydrated.
“I’ll have a cold beer and maybe a walk around the resort. Try to use the shade as much as possible,” Grigorevich says. “Yes, sure.”
Watson reported from San Diego. John Antsuk of Los Angeles, Anita Snow of Phoenix and Susan Montoya of Albuquerque, New Mexico contributed to this report.