Phoenix authorities issued several warnings about the dangers of the heat. Phoenix park ranger Chris Webb said she saw about a dozen hikers on Camelback Mountain in the afternoon hours.
“I would recommend that people do something less strenuous than to come out to the toughest hike in Phoenix in the middle part of the day,” she said. “Maybe go swimming. Maybe do something indoors instead.”
The first day of summer brought some of the worst heat the southwestern U.S. region has seen in years.
Meteorologists said Tuesday’s temperature in Phoenix topped out at 119 degrees, a mark that’s only been matched or surpassed four other times in the city’s recorded history. The all-time high was 122 degrees on June 26, 1990.
Death Valley, California, reached 125 Tuesday and Palm Springs hit 121, still a degree lower than the same day last year.
The heat wave comes amid new research findings that nearly 1 in 3 people now experience 20 days a year when the heat reaches deadly levels.
The study of nearly 2,000 deadly heat waves worldwide since 1980 was published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Workers at a construction site in a Phoenix suburb huddled under the shade of an excavator during a break. At another building site, men in hard hats and yellow vests laboured and sweated in the heat, downing water to stay hydrated.
Las Vegas also baked. Visitors tried to stay inside air-conditioned casinos, and some tourists lugged packs of bottled water around the Strip. Others went to a bar where the temperature is set at 23 degrees (-5 Celsius) and glasses, walls and seats are sculpted from ice. (AP)