LAS VEGAS — (TodayNews) — Visitors to Las Vegas on Friday momentarily stepped out to take photos and were amazed by the blast furnace air. But most will spend their holidays in a completely different climate – in a casino, where a light sweater may be required due to the cold air conditioning.
Meanwhile, emergency room doctors witnessed a different world as dehydrated construction workers, unconscious elderly residents and others were hit by a heatwave that threatened to break the city’s all-time record of 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47.2 degrees Celsius) this weekend. .
Few places in the scorching Southwest showcase the surreal contrast between inside and outside life like Las Vegas, a neon-lit city teeming with resorts, casinos, swimming pools, indoor nightclubs and shopping. Tens of millions of other Californians and the Southwest also looked for ways to stay cool and protect themselves from the dangers of extreme heat.
“We’ve been talking about this heatwave for a week now and it’s now at its most intense period,” the National Weather Service wrote on Friday.
Nearly a third of Americans were under alerts, watches and extreme heat warnings. The heat wave was forecast to intensify this weekend in Nevada, Arizona and California, where desert temperatures are predicted to rise above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.8 degrees Celsius) in parts during the day and remain at 90 degrees Fahrenheit (above 32.2 C). ) Overnight.
Sergio Cajamarca, his family and their dog Max were among those who lined up to take pictures in front of the city’s iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Temperatures had already topped 100 F (37.8 C) before noon.
“I like the city, especially at night. It’s just hot,” said Cajamarca, 46, an electrician from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
His daughter, 20-year-old Cathy Jagui, offered her recipe for relief: “Probably just water, ice cream, stay inside.”
Meteorologists in Las Vegas warned people not to underestimate the danger. “This heat wave is NOT a typical desert heat wave due to its long duration, extreme daytime temperatures and warm nights. Everyone should take this heat seriously, including those who live in the desert,” the Las Vegas National Weather Service said in a statement.
In Phoenix, for the 15th consecutive day in the city, temperatures of 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) or higher on Friday reached 116 degrees Fahrenheit (46.6 degrees Celsius) by evening, allowing it to surpass the longest measured this hot period. The record is 18 days, recorded in 1974.
“This weekend is going to be some of the most severe and hot conditions we have ever seen,” said David Hondula, the city’s head of district heating. “I think it’s time for the community to be as vigilant as possible.”
The heat wave was expected to continue into next week as the high pressure dome moves west of Texas.
“Now we have a lot of heat-related illnesses, severe dehydration, heat exhaustion,” said Dr. Ashkan Morim, who works in the emergency room at Dignity Health Siena Hospital in the Henderson suburb.
Morim said he treated tourists this week who drank too long by the pools and became severely dehydrated; a stranded traveler who needed liters of fluid to recuperate; and a man in his 70s who fell and got stuck in his house for seven hours until help arrived. The man kept his home thermostat at 80 F (26.7 C) worrying about his electricity bills as the air conditioner was constantly running to combat high nighttime temperatures.
On Thursday, regional health officials in Las Vegas launched a new database to report “heat-related” and “heat-related” deaths in and around Clark County from April through October.
The Southern Nevada Health District said seven people had died since April 11, and last year it was found that a total of 152 deaths were heat-related.
In addition to casinos, air-conditioned public libraries, police station lobbies, and other locations from Texas to California were planned to open to the public to provide relief for at least part of the day. In New Mexico’s largest city, Albuquerque, water pools will be open for a long time, with many public pools offering free entry. In Boise, Idaho, churches and other nonprofits offered water, sunscreen, and shelter.
Temperatures closer to the Pacific coast were less severe, but still created sweaty days at pickets in the Los Angeles area, where actors joined writers in strikes against producers.
The California State Fair has begun in Sacramento, where the organizers canceled the planned races due to animal safety concerns.
Employers were reminded that outdoor workers should receive water, shade and regular breaks to cool off.
Pet owners have been urged to keep their animals mostly at home. “Dogs are more susceptible to heatstroke and can literally die within minutes. Please leave them air-conditioned at home,” David Szymanski, park manager at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, wildfire season has been ramping up in hot, dry conditions with a series of fires flaring up across California this week, Natural Resources Agency secretary Wade Crowfoot said at a media briefing.
Global climate change is “charging” heatwaves, Crowfoot added.
Stefan Gligorevich, a software engineer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania who visited Las Vegas for the first time, said he plans to stay hydrated and not let it ruin his vacation.
“Cold beer and probably a walk around the resorts. You use the shade when you can,” Gligorevich said. “Definitely yes.”
Watson reported from San Diego. AP reporters John Antczak of Los Angeles, Anita Snow of Phoenix, and Susan Montoya of Albuquerque, New Mexico contributed to this report.
Copyright 2023 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.