LAS VEGAS –
Visitors to Las Vegas on Friday stepped outside momentarily to take pictures and were struck by blast furnace air. But most will spend their vacation in a very different climate — in casinos where the air conditioning is cold may require a light sweater.
Meanwhile, emergency room doctors are witnessing another world, as construction workers become dehydrated, the elderly pass out and others endure a dangerous heat wave. Chances of breaking the city’s all-time record high of 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47.2 degrees Celsius) this weekend.
Few places in the sweltering Southwest exhibit such a surreal contrast between indoor and outdoor life as Las Vegas, a neon-lit city filled with resorts, casinos, swimming pools, and clubs. Indoor night set and shopping mall. Tens of millions more, across California and the Southwest, are also scrambling for ways to stay cool and safe from the dangers of extreme heat.
“We’ve been talking about this building heatwave for a week now, and now the most intense is beginning,” the National Weather Service wrote on Friday.
Nearly a third of Americans are being advised, monitored and warned for extreme heat. The intense heatwave is forecast to worsen later this week for Nevada, Arizona and California, where desert temperatures are predicted to soar in places with temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Fahrenheit). 8 degrees C) during the day and stay at 90 degrees F (above 32.2 degrees C). ) overnight.
Sergio Cajamarca, his family and dog Max, were among those lining up to take pictures in front of the city’s iconic “Welcome to the Amazing Las Vegas” sign. The temperature before noon had reached 100 F (37.8 C).
“I like the city, especially at night. It’s just the heat,” said Cajamarca, 46, an electrician from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
His daughter, Kathy Zhagui, 20, offers the relief formula: “Maybe just water, cream, stay at home.”
Meteorologists in Las Vegas warn residents not to take the danger lightly. “This heat wave is NOT your typical desert heatwave due to its long duration, extreme daytime temperatures and warm nights. Everyone needs to take this heatwave seriously, including those living in the area. in the desert,” the National Weather Service in Las Vegas said in a tweet. .
Phoenix marked the city’s 15th consecutive day of temperatures of 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) or higher on Friday, reaching 116 degrees Fahrenheit (46.6 degrees Celsius) late in the afternoon and putting the city on record. This city has passed the longest period of heatwave ever measured. The record is 18 days, recorded in 1974.
“This weekend will have some of the hottest and most severe conditions we’ve ever seen,” said David Hondula, the city’s heat director. “I think it’s time for the community to be on high alert.”
The heat is expected to continue into next week as a dome of high pressure moves west from Texas.
Dr Ashkan Morim, who works in the emergency room at Dignity Health Siena Hospital in the suburb of Henderson, said: “We are suffering from a lot of heat-related illnesses, a lot of dehydration, heat exhaustion.
Morim said this week he has been treating visitors who drink too long by the pool and are severely dehydrated; a trapped climber needs liters of fluid to regain strength; and a man in his 70s fell and was trapped in his home for 7 hours until help arrived. The man keeps the temperature in his home at 80 F (26.7 C), worried about his electric bill as the air conditioner works continuously to combat the high nighttime temperatures.
Regional health officials in Las Vegas launched a new database Thursday to report “heat-related” and “heat-related” deaths in the city and surrounding Clark County from April to October.
The Southern Nevada Health District said seven people have died since April 11, and a total of 152 deaths last year were identified as heat-related.
Besides casinos, air-conditioned public libraries, police station lobbies and other places from Texas to California have planned to open their doors to the public to ease at least part of the day. In New Mexico’s largest city of Albuquerque, splash zones will be open for hours and many public pools will be free to enter. In Boise, Idaho, churches and other nonprofit groups are providing water, sunscreen, and shelter.
Temperatures near the Pacific coast were less extreme, but still made for a sweaty day on hotlines in the Los Angeles area, where actors joined screenwriters in a strike against producers.
In Sacramento, the California State Fair opened with organizers canceling planned horse racing events due to animal safety concerns.
Employers are reminded that outdoor workers must have access to water, shade, and regular breaks to cool off.
Pet owners are encouraged to keep their pets mostly inside. “Dogs are more susceptible to heatstroke and can literally die within minutes. Please leave them at home in the air conditioning,” said David Szymanski, park director of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. know in a statement.
Meanwhile, wildfire season is intensifying in hot, dry conditions with a series of fires breaking out across California this week, Wade Crowfoot, secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, said at a news conference.
Global climate change is “intensifying” heat waves, Crowfoot adds.
Stefan Gligorevic, a software engineer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania who is visiting Las Vegas for the first time, says he plans to stay hydrated and not let it ruin his vacation.
“The beer is cold and maybe a walk through the resorts. You should take advantage of the shade when you can,” says Gligorevic. “Definitive.”
Watson reports from San Diego. AP reporters John Antczak in Los Angeles, Anita Snow in Phoenix and Susan Montoya in Albuquerque, New Mexico contributed to this report.