It’s summertime in the Sonoran desert, and that means scorching hot temperatures and dry conditions.
In fact, the valley’s dry heat has been so severe lately that the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning on Thursday. This came as temperatures topped out at 115 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest of the year thus far.
The heat warning extends throughout the state and even into California, with extremely hot temperatures forecast for Friday, too. According to the National Weather Service, there is a high risk for heat-related illnesses including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Nobody should be outside for long periods of time, especially during the afternoon hours as the sun beats down relentlessly.
Tucson, Casa Grande, Gila Bend and Yuma are also included in the excessive heat warning, as well as parts of southeastern California like Palm Springs, Blythe, Coachella and Indio.
With about 5 million people living in the valley, officials are urging everyone to stay safe from the sun and the heat by limiting their time outdoors and drinking lots of water. If possible, people should stay home in their air conditioning or head to public places like shopping malls, libraries or community centers where it will be nice and cool.
Heat-related deaths are a serious concern in Maricopa County, as 155 people died last year in Phoenix’s warmest year ever on record. Across the state, 219 people died last year, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. From 2005 to 2015, there were almost 1,300 deaths associated with heat throughout the state. For more information, please visit the official website of the Arizona Department of Health Services HERE.
There have been only two heat-caused deaths so far this year across all of Maricopa County. This may be attributed to the special cooling stations organized by the Salvation Army that give people a safe space to escape from the sun, rehydrate and rest in the air conditioning. Learn about the cooling stations on the official website of the Salvation Army Phoenix HERE.
For weather updates, please visit the official website of the National Weather Service – Phoenix HERE.