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Dangerous heatwave forecast for southwest, including L.A., Las Vegas

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    Glendale Fire Department firefighter Chris Greene, right, gets a case of water from service worker Edi Marroquin, left, from the dozens of cases of water at the Glendale Fire Department Resource Center as they prepare for the record-setting heat predicted for the weekend in Glendale, Ariz.

LOS ANGELES » It’s a dry heat, Phoenix residents like to say about Arizona’s hot weather. That bravado may vanish as the thermometer flirts with 120 degrees this weekend.

Phoenix won’t be alone in the oven. A strengthening ridge of high pressure lifting out of Mexico is on course to also scorch other parts of Arizona and Southern California, bringing potentially record-shattering temperatures.

Though accustomed to triple digits, the upcoming heat spell is a rarity in Phoenix, a desert metropolis of 1.5 million people, raising concerns of heat stroke.

Temperatures are predicted to hit 118 degrees in Phoenix on Sunday and peak at 119 degrees Monday. Such heat is “rare, dangerous and deadly,” according to a National Weather Service warning.

“This is extreme even for our standards,” said Matthew Hirsch, a weather service meteorologist in Phoenix.

The hottest day on record in Phoenix occurred June 26, 1990, when the thermometer reached 122 degrees.

Extreme heat is likely to become more common, scientists say, blaming man-made greenhouse gas pollution.

“We should anticipate more and more of this extreme heat, and we’re getting to feel it firsthand. It is what global warming looks and feels like,” University of Arizona climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck said in an email.

During heat waves, people should watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, including high body temperature, dizziness and nausea. If untreated, heat stroke can lead to disability or even death.

Health experts say even a difference of a few degrees outside can cause the body temperature to spike, potentially affecting the brain and other organs. The elderly, babies and those with health problems are especially vulnerable because they can’t cool down as fast.

Between 2006 and 2010, some 3,000 Americans died from heat-related illnesses, according to government statistics.

“No one needs to die in a heat wave, yet we do have deaths. They’re all preventable,” said Kristie Ebi, a professor of global health at the University of Washington.

Earlier this month, a swath of the West Coast sweltered under heat warnings that forced sporting events to start in the evening and festivals to ditch some of the usual pomp and circumstance. Phoenix experienced its earliest recorded 115-degree day on June 4.

On Friday, the agency that operates California’s wholesale power system said it’s preparing for the heat and may ask residents to voluntarily conserve power to prevent rotating outages.

Death Valley, California, which bills itself as the hottest place on the planet, is expected to live up to its reputation. Temperatures are predicted to exceed 120 degrees next week, according to government forecasters.

Las Vegas is expected to see temperatures up to 112 for the weekend. By the middle of next week, the high pressure ridge is expected to shift toward the Four Corners region — southwestern Colorado, southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico, which will likely see above-normal temperatures.

As in previous heat waves, those living in high heat zones are urged to limit outdoor activities this weekend and to seek shelter in air-conditioned buildings. People should also stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.

June is typically the warmest — and driest — month for desert Southwest states. This toasty period is followed by the monsoon season marked by dust storms, flash floods and lightning.

Until then, “it’s just plain hot. There are no other words,” said Kelly Redmond, deputy director of the Western Regional Climate Center in Nevada.

It’s bound to get hotter in the future, researchers say. A recent study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado calculated that summers across much of the globe later this century could be warmer than any summer experienced so far if current emissions continue.

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        • The article is bogus and clearly does not grasp what global climate CHANGE (not warming) is all about. What cannot be disputed is the 1st law of thermodynamics which states. Energy in an isolated system can neither be created or destroyed, just converted from one form of energy to another. Man made greenhouse gases levels have been measurably increasing and the effect of these gases are indisputable in retaining ENERGY (heat is ONLY one form) within’s earths atmosphere. The effects of insulation are also indisputable and can be demonstrated if you stood on Ala Moana beach and completely covered youself head to toe with highly insulated jackets, thermal underwear, etc. You stand out in the sun long enough wearing all of those heavy “winter” clothes you get heat exhaustion and if you pass out and no one helps you will probably end up with heat stroke and not survive. There is NO dispute within the earths atmosphere more ENERGY from the sun is being retained and that energy will express itself in MORE energetic weather events and not just point in time temperature readings. In fact some areas of the world might actually get very cold after an extremely energetic event like a severe weather storm or a hurricane, which on earth is one of the most highly energetic events expressed by energy on earth since maximum kinetic energy of air occurs in an organized cyclical pattern where kinetic energy is expressed as KE = 1/2 * mass * velocity squared (actually KE for a hurricane would be expressed by the rotational velocity equivalent) Some point in time temperatures have been increasing but that is not the key factor, what is key is the INCREASE highly energetic events like more hurricanes, typhoons, severe weather storms ,etc. Most of the worlds’ population lives closer to sea level and are vulnerable to these type of weather events beyond just really hot weather. Those massive hurricanes and typhoons are the “global killers” that will result in the death of many thousands or even millions due to starvation, disease, death due to the lasting after effects of a massive hurricane, typhoon, etc. Hannity and M Perry are clueless and unfortunately focus on the Al Gore types who politicized and made money off a very real global crisis.

    • Nobody denies climate change and I think that statements like the above add nothing productive to the discussion. If fact, it is a kind of lying.

      The argument is over what might be causing it and what the effects may be.

      There are a lot of questionable arguments, like “97% of scientists agree that it is man-made”. This was started by a non-scientist doing a word search on scientific articles.

      A figure of about 34% could also have been arrived at if the data were viewed without certain prejudgements.

      Experts in thermodynamic models state that climate models have a little to do with the actual real world.

      Warming from carbon dioxide will occur in dry areas like Arizona, but not warm humid areas like Hawaii, in which the effect of increased CO2 is minimized.

      The Sahara desert in north Africa had grazing animals and grassland about 7,000 years ago. Would a return to this be necessarily bad?

    • There is no need to worry. The Republicans assure everyone that global warming is a hoax. It’s not really going to be 120 degrees in Phoenix. It’s just the Democrats trying to scare people. Right?

  • On days like dis and dat I like to say, “I really love my Fujitsu!” and drinking cold greenies under an umbrella on a white sandy beach in Hawaii!

  • for all you denier knuckleheads out there: even if climate change/global warming (or whatever the f you wanna call it) is not the cuase of rising temperatures, doesn’t it behoove us to stop dumping crap into the atmosphere and deforesting the earth …. JUST BECAUSE?!?!?!!!. Too bad we couldn’t ship all these polluters and dismissive idiots and put them on a planet where they can choke each other out, and the rest of us will stay here and take care of the environment.

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