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Impacts And Infrastructure In Extreme Heat

People cross Las Vegas Boulevard as the sun beats down, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Las Vegas. The first day of summer is forecast to bring some of the worst heat the southwestern U.S. has seen in years. (John Locher/AP)
People cross Las Vegas Boulevard as the sun beats down, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Las Vegas. The first day of summer is forecast to bring some of the worst heat the southwestern U.S. has seen in years. (John Locher/AP)

Commuter planes that can’t fly. Door handles too hot to touch. The heat dome crushing the southwestern U.S. This week puts other heatwaves to shame. We’ll look at dealing with heat in abnormal new normal.

Super heat wave in the American southwest in the last week. Flights cancelled. Fires unstoppable. Pets wearing booties on boiling sidewalks. Hikers, runners keeling over dead. Temps in Arizona, Nevada, California bumping 120 degrees. Palm Springs, 121. Death Valley, 125. Dashboards, steering wheels – up toward 150. Sixteen of the seventeen hottest years ever recorded have occurred since the year 2000. This hour On Point: Living in the heat dome. — Tom Ashbrook


Kait Parker, meteorologist and science reporter at The Weather Channel. (@WeatherKait)

Weldon Johnson, reporter for the Arizona Republic. (@weldonjohnson)

Gregg Garfin, professor at the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment. (@GreggGarfin)

Charles Redman, founding director of Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. Professor at ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change. (@ChuckRedmanASU)

From Tom’s Reading List

Pacific Standard: The Science Behind Arizona’s Record-Setting Heat Wave — “The atmospheric culprit for the heat is a very intense high pressure, which is itself setting records. Though the statistical databases show this high of high pressure to be an approximately one-in-200-year event, these events have been occurring more often lately—with the last one happening just last year. In short, the background signal of global warming makes the entire atmosphere thinner and less dense, supporting stronger high-pressure centers like the one camped out over Arizona this week, which then tend to get stuck in place—cranking up the thermostat over a multi-state region.”

CNN: How hot is it in the West? Let us count the ways — “It’s so hot in the West that the scorching heat is breaking records, causing massive power outages and prompting flight cancellations. On Tuesday, Phoenix hit a daily record reaching 119 degrees Fahrenheit, which ranked as the fourth hottest day on record for the Arizona city. Death Valley, California, lived up to its name as it set a daily record at a high of 127 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.”

Arizona Republic: Holy cow it’s hot in AZ: Phoenix heat feels like death, but these memes are giving us life — “When you walk outside it feels like your flesh is burning off your skin almost immediately or like you’ve just stepped onto the surface of the sun and not on to your Phoenix lawn. Which, by the way, is also dead from the heat. Sorry lawn. It may not feel like a laughing matter, but at least we can share some witty memes about it on social media from our air-conditioned living quarters.”

Beating The Extreme Heat

Stay Cool

  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Stay Cool Indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible.
  • Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours.
  • Wear Sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated.
  • Avoid Hot and Heavy Meals: They add heat to your body!

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink Plenty of Fluids: Drink more fluids, regardless of how active you are.
  • Stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.
  • Replace Salt and Minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.

Stay Informed

  • Check for Updates: Check your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips and to learn about any cooling shelters in your area.
  • Know the Signs: Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.

The above information and recommendations are sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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