Hunka hunka burning up
June 29, 2013
Today is a busy day outdoors in Carson City, and the heat isn't about to relent.
A day after the temperature hit 99, according to DayWeather, today's high is expected to be 98.
Residents are encouraged to prepare for the heat as they leave their homes to head out to the Food For Thought Saddle Up for Kids event at Mills Park, the Run Whatcha Brung car show, the Casino Fandango Food Truck Festival or other events around the area.
Elsewhere, the temperature soared to nearly 120 degrees in Phoenix and Las Vegas on Friday.
The heat was so punishing that rangers took up positions at trailheads at Lake Mead to persuade people not to hike. Zookeepers in Phoenix hosed down elephants and fed tigers frozen fish snacks. And tourists at California's Death Valley took photos of the harsh landscape and a thermometer that read 121.
The temperature there was expected to reach nearly 130 on Friday — just short of the 134-degree reading from a century ago that stands as the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth.
"You have to take a picture of something like this. Otherwise no one will believe you," said Laura McAlpine, visiting Death Valley from Scotland.
The heat is not expected to break until Monday or Tuesday.
The scorching weather presented problems for airlines because high temperatures can make it more difficult for planes to take off. Hot air reduces lift and hurts engine performance. Planes taking off in the heat might need longer runways or might have to shed weight by carrying less fuel.
Smaller jets and propeller planes are more likely to be affected than big airliners, officials said.
"This is the hottest time of the year, but the temperatures that we'll be looking at for Friday through Sunday, they'll be toward the top," said National Weather Service meteorologist Mark O'Malley. "It's going to be baking hot across much of the entire West."
The heat is the result of a high-pressure system brought on by a shift in the jet stream, the high-altitude air current that dictates weather patterns. The jet stream has been more erratic in the past few years.
Health officials warned people to be extremely careful when venturing outdoors. The risks include not only dehydration and heat stroke, but burns from the concrete and asphalt.
"You will see people who go out walking with their dog at noon or in the middle of the day and don't bring enough water and it gets tragic pretty quickly," said Bretta Nelson, spokeswoman for the Arizona Humane Society. "You just don't want to find out the hard way."